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Jio Fiber's First Day First Show of New Movies: Ushering The End of Cinema Halls?

Jio Fiber's First Day First Show of New Movies: Ushering The End of Cinema Halls?

This is, simply put, a first of its kind service in India. And pretty much anyone else, be it a broadband player or a DTH operator, would struggle to replicate this on the scale that Reliance Jio will be able to.

It is finally here. The much-awaited Jio Fiber home broadband services will commercially roll out on September 5 with subscription prices starting Rs 700 per month and going all the way up to Rs 10,000 per month. Depending on which plan you select, the speeds will range between 100Mbps and 1Gbps. At the 42nd Annual General Meeting (Post-IPO) of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), the company confirmed that there will be a lot of bundled services and value additions that the Jio Fiber subscription will offer. The one that perhaps stands out the most is what is referred to as First Day First Show.

At the AGM keynote, Mukesh Ambani, Chairman & Managing Director, Reliance Industries Limited announced that the Jio Fiber subscribers will be able to enjoy the movie premieres in the comfort of their homes, on the same day as they release in cinema halls and movie theatres in India. This service will roll out in the middle of next year and will be available to all Jio Fiber users.

This is, simply put, a first of its kind service in India. And pretty much anyone else, be it a broadband player or a DTH operator, would struggle to replicate this on the scale that Reliance Jio will be able to. The company intends to connect as many as 20 million homes across India when the rollout starts next month. You may perhaps not be able to understand the sheer magnitude of this announcement immediately, but once you do, you’ll realize that the very location of the cinema hall is shifting. In fact, it is coming closer to you. In fact, as close as your home. Your living rooms. Your home theater den. Your bedroom. You pick the location.

While the details of this service are still quite sketchy and should probably become clear in the days and months to come, we would assume that this would mean the movies being released on a Friday (that typically is the day) in the cinema hall near you, would be available on your Jio Fiber broadband package at the same time. You pick a time of your choosing, get the popcorn ready and get comfortable. We still do not know the specifics of whether this will include new releases of Bollywood movies, regional cinema and/or Hollywood movies, but this announcement should be enough to invoke some fear in the owners of cinema halls, cable companies as well as direct to home (DTH) operators and perhaps even TV channels that recycle old movies endlessly every weekend.

And there are reasons for that. The Jio Fiber home broadband services aren’t just an internet line coming into your home, in isolation. The Jio Fiber will bundle a home phone, subscriptions to video streaming platforms, hook you up with a cable TV service and also special tariffs and priority service for Jio mobile subscriptions. If you pay for a Jio Fiber annual subscription plan, there is a free HD/4K TV and a 4K set top box (STB) being bundled as well. And with prices starting Rs 700 per month, a lot of existing and new broadband users in India would find value in the complete ecosystem—which in most likelihood depending on your existing broadband, cable and DTH subscriptions and streaming app subscriptions, would probably be costing a lot more at this time, every month.

It is that sheer volume which will be able to enjoy First Day First Show is perhaps what will drive a quick shift in movie viewing preferences. This could just be the band-aid getting ripped off, which could accelerate a reaction from the cinema halls—could we see a drastic reduction in ticket prices?

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