Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Big Entertainment (RBE) has acquired a majority stake (about 75 per cent) in US based Willow.tv, an internet portal for live internet streaming of cricket events. The acquisition amount has been undisclosed, while the company has said that it would invest Rs 300 crore ($75 million) in the company over the next two years. The investment also includes the payout to the existing owners and founders of Willow.tv – Vijay Srinivasan and Sameer Mehta.
Headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, Willow TV has been live streaming international cricket events since 2003. It claims to have more than a million registered users worldwide, predominantly in the US, Canada, Australia and Europe. In 2007-8, the website has streamed events like Indian Premier League, all Australian, South African and English International Cricket. It’s a paid site.
RBE sees synergies with the acquisition as it is looking at launching a Video-Box service which will seamlessly integrate cricket, movie and television content on the television screen. They will als deliver movies from Bigflix.com, and telecom services from Reliance Communications through this integrated offering.
ESPN-owned Cricinfo.com has also declared its intentions to start livestreaming of cricket this year.