JioCinema plans to appoint former Google general manager Kiran Mani as chief executive officer, leading the Indian streaming TV service’s effort to broaden its reach among mobile customers, according to people familiar with the move.
Mani formerly ran Google’s Android operations in the Asia Pacific region. He’s going to lead technology development for the service and facilitate partnerships with Hollywood studios, said the people, who asked not be identified discussing internal matters, a Bloomberg report stated.
The executive, who has already started at the company, was an early investor and adviser to James Murdoch and Uday Shankar’s Bodhi Tree investment firm, according to his Linkedin page.
JioCinema’s parent company, Viacom18, is a joint venture of Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd., Paramount Global and Bodhi Tree. A Reliance Industries representative did not offer any immediate comment to Bloomberg.
India, with its 1.4 billion people, has been a fierce battleground for global media companies. Google and its YouTube subsidiary are already popular in the country. Earlier this year, JioCinema offered free streaming of a major cricket tournament in a bid to lure more paying subscribers. The service costs Rs. 999 or about $12 annually.
As part of its expansion plans, JioCinema signed new programming deals this year with entertainment giants Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. and Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal.