The OTT platform hit a peak of 44 Mn concurrent viewers, breaking its own record of 43 Mn viewers
Disney+ Hotstar had previously reached a milestone of 35 Mn concurrent viewers during the match between India and Pakistan on October 14
The 2023 ICC World Cup was viewed as a critical juncture for Disney+ Hotstar, especially with looming prospects of a takeover by Reliance
On November 5, Disney+ Hotstar set a new worldwide record for live-streaming viewership, despite increasing competition from rivals such as Reliance’s JioCinema and the recent loss of digital streaming rights for several of its hit shows.
The OTT platform hit a peak of 44 Mn concurrent viewers, breaking its own record of 43 Mn viewers, which was established during the cricket match between India and New Zealand on October 22, just a fortnight prior.
Disney+ Hotstar had previously reached a milestone of 35 Mn concurrent viewers during the match between India and Pakistan on October 14, which was the highest digital viewership recorded at the time.
The 2023 ICC World Cup was viewed as a critical juncture for Disney+ Hotstar, especially with looming prospects of a takeover by Reliance.
The platform had seen a significant decline in its subscriber base, losing nearly 21 Mn subscribers over the previous three quarters. As of July 1, 2023, its paid subscriber count had fallen to 40.4 Mn, a substantial decrease from its peak of 61.3 Mn in the quarter ending October 2022.
The decrease in subscribers was largely due to Disney+ Hotstar losing streaming rights to major sporting events. This included the Indian Premier League (IPL), the media rights for the FIFA World Cup 2022, and other national matches for India’s cricket and football teams. Moreover, the platform’s multi-year contract to stream Warner Bros Discovery’s HBO shows in India concluded in 2022.
The tactical move to provide free streaming of the Asia Cup 2023 and ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup to mobile users paid off well for Disney+ Hotstar. This approach resulted in remarkable viewership numbers, with the IPL 2023 final match between Chennai Super Kings and Gujarat Titans attracting over 32 Mn viewers.
Earlier, there were discussions that Reliance Industries Ltd was contemplating the purchase of a significant stake in Walt Disney Co.’s operations in India. This deal, potentially worth around $7 Bn-$8 Bn, would involve both cash and stock transactions. Walt Disney had been considering various options for its Indian streaming and television segment, including Disney+ Hotstar, ranging from a complete sale to forming a joint venture.
A 2022 report by Deloitte highlighted that India’s OTT market had approximately 428.3 Mn viewers, but only 30% of them had active subscriptions. Projections by Statista suggest that the Indian video OTT market is poised for substantial growth, potentially more than doubling to reach $12.5 Bn by the end of the financial year 2030.