In India, few events get as much attention as the game of cricket. And no match for the World Cup final.
Sunday’s game, which started just half an hour ago, already drew 54 million simultaneous viewers, breaking a record set earlier this week. With no high-profile cricket game anytime soon, Hotstar is likely to hold the record for at least six months.
As far as concurrent viewership metrics are concerned, Hotstar now maintains a clear lead over rival, Mukesh Ambani-backed Viacom18’s JioCinema, which topped 32 million earlier this year.
The milestone also comes at a time when Disney, which streams ICC World Cup cricket matches for free to mobile viewers in India, is rapidly losing digital subscribers in India and is evaluating its future domestically. business. Hotstar has lost more than 23 million subscribers in the past one year, according to Disney.
Disney chief executive Bob Iger said earlier this month that the company “wants to stay” in India and is considering its options in the world’s most popular country where its TV business continues to deliver revenue.
The company has held preliminary talks with several companies, including Ambani’s Indian conglomerate Reliance, as well as some private equity giants in recent months as it has garnered interest for the Indian business, the crown prince said. asset of the Fox portfolio at the time Disney acquired it.
But Star India’s fortunes have changed in recent years amid declining market conditions that have forced Iger to shift focus to core businesses. It also didn’t help Hotstar that Ambani had roped in several top Star India executives to head Viacom18 and agreed to spend $3 billion to stream the IPL cricket tournament over five years. (Disney also spends about $3 billion on the IPL, but to broadcast the matches on TV.) Viacom18 counts Bodhi Tree, run by former Fox executives Uday Shankar and James Murdoch, among the its main supporter.
Disney has high hopes from the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup. The global streamer projects to marketers that it will reach more than 50 million concurrent viewers of the tournament and reach 82% of the total annual video users in India during the nearly 50-day series. , according to an internal 53-page slide reviewed by TechCrunch.