Facebook signs deal to stream India's Filmfare Awards globally

Facebook might have lost the IPL rights to Hotstar, but still wants to make an impact on India's video-streaming landscape. This time via Bollywood's Filmfare Awards.
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This year, you can see the Filmfare Awards live on Facebook!

The Menlo Park-based tech giant has signed a strategic deal with Worldwide Media, the content company that produces the Filmfare Awards, India's most prominent entertainment awards show.

As part of the deal, the 65th edition of the iconic awards show would be digitally streamed on Facebook across the world. Earlier in the year, Filmfare had also roped in Amazon India as the title sponsor.

"The award show will be available to watch digitally at the same time as it will air on TV, in addition to exclusive videos, photos and moments on Facebook and Instagram," the companies said in a joint statement.

Facebook has acquired the simulcasting rights for not just Filmfare Hindi but the entire awards franchise, including Filmfare Marathi, Filmfare South, Filmfare Punjabi, and Filmfare Glamour and Style Awards to be held in 2020.

The shows would be streamed live on Filmfare’s official Facebook page. In addition, red carpet highlights, backstage footage, special moments, and best of Filmfare archive content will be made available exclusively on Facebook and Instagram

Speaking of the association, Manish Chopra, Director and Head of Partnerships, Facebook India said,

“Social media is revolutionising the way audiences discover, consume and share entertainment content. We have seen people form some of the most vibrant global communities around their favourite movies and stars on Facebook and Instagram. We are excited to partner with Filmfare to bring exclusive and engaging videos, photos, and more for people on our platforms."

Facebook's past attempts at streaming in India

This is not the first time the social networking giant has been associated with the Filmfare Awards.

In 2017, Filmfare had launched its Short Film Awards exclusively on Facebook to generate more entries and participation from both filmmakers and film aficionados, riding on the platform's enormous user base in India.

"As Facebook is widely used by Indian audiences from all walks of life, Filmfare chose to leverage its audience network. The Indian audience on Facebook also consumes a lot of content that involves celebrities. Hence, Filmfare tapped upon the opportunity to call for entries for the short film awards," Facebook had then said.

In 2017, Facebook had also made an aggressive $600 million bid to acquire the streaming rights for the Indian Premier League (IPL) - the hottest property on OTT platforms in India.

It, however, lost to Disney-owned Hotstar, which bid a staggering $2.55 billion for the combined television and streaming rights of the sports league. Since then, Hotstar has turned the IPL into an unstoppable juggernaut, one that allows the homegrown OTT platform to maintain a significant lead over global streaming giants Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Facebook, meanwhile, continues to offer live video from a host of Indian news publishers and other celebrity content creators.

With the Filmfare Awards, Worldwide Media will "leverage the various FB tools to drive like-minded communities of Bollywood buffs to discuss, debate and enjoy topics and content of similar interest levels," its CEO Deepak Lamba stated.

(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)


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