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Amazon Prime Video, Sony Pictures India in Talks to Grab IPL Rights from Star

Jeff Kotuby

Could one of India’s hottest commodities be leaving its broadcasting home for the last four years? Current reports seem to indicate so.

According to the Hindu Business Journal, the rights to the Indian Premier League, India’s top cricket flight, could be headed to a joint venture between Sony Pictures India and Amazon Prime Video.

The duo of companies is expected to pay around $3-4 billion for the auctions to be held by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in December, according to sources close to The Hindu Business Journal. Sony held the IPL rights from 2008-2017 but lost the rights to Star India from 2018-22.

The move would be interesting, as Star India seems to have everything a league would want — a strong linear presence as well as a hot (no pun intended) streaming service in Hotstar. Sony Pictures India, meanwhile only really has a strong linear TV presence. Granted, this is why they’re likely going to bid with Amazon Prime Video, they of the streaming-only platform. A Sony merger with Zee Entertainment could be in the works, which would further bolster its presence in tier-2 and tier-3 markets. “Prime Video has been looking to get into this space for a long time now and Sony wants to win the rights back. It looks like both may join hands for the same,” said another source close to the HBJ.

Hotstar has been a driving force for Disney and has allowed the company to make serious headway in the Asian market, beating out Netflix by a substantial margin. Would potentially losing cricket, one of India’s top sports, cause the service to falter in the future? Probably not, but it certainly won’t help matters.

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