Disney’s Hotstar created a new record with a concurrent viewership of 5.3 crore viewers for the big match between India and New Zealand.
A pivotal semifinal cricket match between India and New Zealand recently made history by smashing all previous records in the realm of on-demand video streaming. Broadcasted on Disney’s Hotstar, this event drew an unprecedented 5.3 crore (53 million) viewers concurrently.
This achievement surpassed the previous record of 44 million concurrent viewers, also set by Hotstar earlier in the month. With this, Hotstar has solidified its position as a leader in streaming, surpassing its competitor JioCinema, backed by Mukesh Ambani, which reached a peak of 3.2 Crore (32 million) viewers earlier in the year.
In a prior match of the World Cup, the India vs. Pakistan game recorded a significant viewership milestone on Disney+Hotstar, drawing 3.5 crore (35 million) concurrent viewers.
This record-setting viewership comes at a critical time for Disney. The company, which is currently offering free streaming of the ICC World Cup cricket matches to mobile users in India, is facing a decline in its digital subscriber base. Over the past year, Hotstar has seen a reduction of over 23 million subscribers, as per Disney’s reports.
Sajith Sivanandan, the Head of Disney+ Hotstar India, commented on this achievement. He highlighted that the surge in viewership, reaching 5.3 crore concurrent viewers for the India versus New Zealand semifinal, reflects the intense enthusiasm of Indian cricket fans.
This number surpasses the combined populations of Australia and New Zealand by a significant margin. Sivanandan emphasized that this success is not only a technological feat but also a reflection of the strong support from viewers.
Disney CEO Bob Iger has expressed a desire to continue the company’s operations in India, a market where the TV business remains profitable. The company is exploring various options and has initiated preliminary discussions with several entities, including Reliance and some major private equity firms, regarding its business interests in India. This business was a key asset of Fox’s portfolio when Disney acquired it.
However, the situation for Star India, under Disney, has shifted in recent years due to challenging market conditions. This shift has led Iger to refocus on core businesses. Also, Reliance’s strategic moves have intensified the competition, including hiring top executives from Star India for Viacom18 and committing $3 billion to stream IPL cricket for five years on JioCinema. Viacom18, supported by Bodhi Tree and former Fox executives Uday Shankar and James Murdoch, poses a significant challenge to Hotstar. Disney is also investing roughly $3 billion in broadcasting IPL matches on television.
The 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup brought an innovative addition to its broadcasting by introducing a new vertical video feed via ICC TV, supported by Disney Star. This new feature was designed to enhance the mobile viewing experience for audiences during this edition of the Cricket World Cup.
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