Reliance Industries is back at money raising, once again for a company that would help it catapult into the digital ecosystem — Viacom18. Reliance has established a tactical partnership with Bodhi Tree Systems, a platform created by James Murdoch (Founder, Lupa Systems) and Uday Shankar (Former Chairman, The Walt Disney company Asia Pacific).

Bodhi Tree Systems, which recently received a $1.5Bn backing from QIA, will be infusing $1.76 Bn (₹13,500 crore) in Viacom18, according to a press release issued by Reliance on Wednesday. Reliance, as a part of this collaboration, will be transferring its currently operational Video streaming app JioCinema to Viacom18. Additionally, Reliance Projects and Property Management Services, a subsidy of RIL, will be investing $216 million into Viacom18.

Speaking on the partnership, Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of RIL, said “James and Uday’s track record is unmatched. For over two decades, they have played an undeniable role in shaping the media ecosystem in India, Asia, and around the world….We are committed to bringing the best media and entertainment services for Indian customers through this partnership.”

Viacom18 will be working to create an OTT platform, adding to an already recent announcement of their intentions to make a push in live sports streaming. James Murdoch, Co-founder of Bodhi Tree Systems,  said “Our ambition is to leverage technology advances, particularly in mobile, to provide meaningful solutions to meet everyday media and entertainment needs at scale. We seek to reshape the entertainment experience across more than 1 billion screens.”

Viacom18 is also backed by Paramount Global (Formerly ViacomCBS), who have several global entertainment ventures offering a vast catalogue of content, which will continue to be accessible for Viacom18.

While the way Indians consume content for entertainment has changed drastically over the last few years, with OTT rapidly becoming the preferred way, it’s been relatively easy for newcomers to parse through this new market. The global OTT leader Netflix (which has been facing a different set of issues on a global level) has not been able to establish dominance in the Indian market, due to high subscription prices and some politico-ideological controversies.

While other major names like Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ Hotstar have a significant share of the market, smaller players like SonyLiv, MX player, VOOT, have all managed to put up sustainable numbers. With very strong financing and a pre-established user base in the form of JioCinema, it would be interesting to see how Viacom18 approaches the rapidly growing Indian OTT market.