Despite JioCinema’s horrendous streaming debut in the FIFA World Cup on Sunday, with scores of football fans fuming on social media, it has become the top-ranked free app across Google Play and Apple App Store in India. Both app marketplaces offer a dynamic ranking of apps depending on their real-time downloads and engagement. (In India, the top 10 chart is typically dominated by social media and messaging apps.)
Viacom18-owned JioCinema, which is streaming the showpiece football event for free, was pilloried for showing broken links, buffering after every 30 seconds, and being unable to provide a seamless streaming experience to fans during the opening ceremony and the first game between Qatar and Ecuador. Twitter was flooded with memes and complaints. Some even urged JioCinema to hire techies from its rival Hotstar.
Later apologizing to fans, JioCinema said, “We are continuously working to give you a great experience. Please upgrade your app to the latest version to enjoy #FIFAWorldCupQatar2022. Apologies for any inconvenience.”
Earlier in October, Reliance-owned Viacom18 had announced that JioCinema, and not Voot (its paid OTT platform), will live-stream all matches and offer curated non-live content around the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. This, of course, came as a surprise for several users, who had renewed their Voot Select subscriptions to watch the FIFA World Cup.
Voot, incidentally, is the official streamer for a bevy of sporting events, including La Liga, NBA, ATP Masters 1000, IIHF World Championship, and more. With Viacom18 now the official owners of IPL’s digital rights, Voot could be the potential streamer for the cricket event too in March 2023.
Interestingly, not just JioCinema, but even Amazon Prime Video has climbed the app charts. It is currently ranked at number two, after it got a boost in downloads and engagement for streaming the ongoing cricket series between India and New Zealand.
This is the first time that two OTT apps have topped India’s app stores.
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