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Ambani's JioCinema cuts subscription prices as India's streaming war heats up

By Aditya Kalra and Kanjyik Ghosh

April 25 (Reuters) - JioCinema, the streaming platform run by India's Reliance Industries, on Thursday cut prices of its premium offering to as low as 29 rupees ($0.3480) a month, heating up competition for Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Reliance runs multiple TV channels and JioCinema streaming app through its media unit Viacom18 and has a sizeable hold over India's $28-billion media and entertainment market.

An advertisement-free version would start at an introductory price of 29 rupees per month for streaming on a single device and go up to 89 rupees for a "Family" plan to stream on four simultaneous devices, JioCinema said in a statement.

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The platform previously priced its premium offering at 99 rupees ($1.19) a month, or 999 rupees a year, for streaming on up to four devices simultaneously. The plan was not ad-free.

Existing JioCinema premium members will get all the additional benefits of the "Family" plan at no extra cost, it said.

JioCinema has become popular for showing the IPL cricket tournament for free. The new pricing, it said, is only for premium content, while the matches and many other shows would continue to stream for free.

Mukesh Ambani, who runs India's top conglomerate Reliance Industries, has a reputation of disrupting rivals in the price-sensitive Indian market with cheap offers.

Lower prices would place JioCinema in a stronger footing to compete with Netflix and Amazon after an agreement with Disney to merge India TV and streaming assets, and content deals with the likes of Warner Bros Discovery and NBCUniversal.

JioCinema hosts popular titles such as "Succession" and shows featuring the character Harry Potter, alongside a variety of offerings targeting kids including popular Japanese anime series, Pokemon.

($1 = 83.3367 Indian rupees) (Reporting by Aditya Kalra and Kanjyik Ghosh; Editing by Shilpi Majumdar)