JioTV, which started out as JioPlay, had only around 200 channels in the beginning. However, the platform has added about 50 channels every month over the last three months, taking the total to over 350 at present.
There are 112 news channels, 90 entertainment channels, 23 infotainment channels, 32 movie channels and 31 music channels on the platform.
The highest number of channels belongs to Hindi at 131, followed by English at 55, Telugu at 36 and Tamil at 32.
Most of the big broadcasters of India have given their feeds for the app, which allows people to watch TV channels live, and even lets them rewind and watch old programs in case of certain channels.
JioTV is not the first attempt at trying out a time-shift TV in India. Bharti Airtel has been running an IPTV operation in Gurgaon for many years now, while MTNL too has tried its hand at the technology.
However, while the others implemented their IPTV solutions over fiber or copper, Jio’s the first to try it over wireless.
It remains to be seen to what extent the company is able to sustain the business, as watching videos is highly data and bandwidth intensive.
Internet connectivity and speeds in India are among the world’s poorest, and any new bandwidth is utilized for more ‘productive’ applications such as work, reading, email, messaging and so on.
However, with increased availability of bandwidth, it is expected that video applications, including Youtube, live TV and WhatsApp video, will become increasingly affordable for Indians.
NET NEUTRALITY CONCERNS
There have been concerns about equitable competition between Jio’s apps and those of third party developers who use the company’s telecom network to reach their customers.
India has in place rules that prohibit telecom companies from charging different tariffs for data based on which app is using the data.
However, the guidelines also provide an exemption if the content is not delivered via the Internet. The exemption has been the cause of much confusion. Bharti Airtel, for example, is reported to have evinced interest in setting up such a ‘closed user group’ system for its customers by tying up with global giants such as Netflix.
Similarly, Jio’s apps were also expected to be covered under the exemption clause. However, the company has chosen not to take advantage of the exemption and said that the price of data used by its apps will be the same as that used by apps such as Hotstar and Hooq.