One thing about our country that is constant is cricket — MS Dhoni
India’s passion for cricket is not news to anyone in the subcontinent, however the Indian Premier League (IPL) which finished this year, showed exactly how seriously Indians take cricket.
Figures released by Star India-owned Hotstar recorded nearly 18.6 Mn users for the IPL final held on Sunday (May 12). This makes the final the single most live-streamed event in the world. The company has broken its own best global record of 10.3 Mn concurrent views in IPL 2018.
In this IPL season, Hotstar had multiple record-breaking achievements. For a match of Royal Challengers Bengaluru Vs Mumbai Indians, Hotstar recorded more than 12.7 Mn concurrent viewers. Earlier in April, Varun Narang, chief product officer at Hotstar, told Inc42 that IPL had till then garnered 267 Mn viewers overall.
The global record bowls over some major live streamed events globally, this includes:
- A 2012 live stream of skydiver Felix Baumgartner jumping from near-space to the Earth’s surface, which had 8 Mn concurrent viewers
- The live video of the royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle saw 13 Mn viewers tuning in simultaneously
In 2017, Star India, then owned by 21st Century Fox, secured the rights to broadcast and stream the IPL cricket tournament for five years for $2.5 Bn.
Hotstar had earlier announced that it had crossed 300 Mn users in India, and is already working with many content creation startups to bring more original programming to its platform. Hotstar is also the likely destination for the new Disney+ content, after Disney acquired Star India in its 20th Century Fox deal.
The company is upping its game to take on big international rivals such as Amazon Prime and Netflix, and competition from Indian companies such as Voot, Zee5, Arre, SonyLIV, ALT Balaji, EROS Now and YouTube Originals among others. It is to be noted that both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have less than 30 Mn subscribers in India, according to industry estimates.
According to the latest report by market research company Velocity MR, more than 70% of respondents claimed to watch Amazon Prime regularly at least once a week, followed by Netflix with 56% and Hotstar with 50%.
Amid this record breaking success for Hotstar, it is to be noted that IPL and Game of Thrones (GoT) are both coming to an end. As these two have been the major enablers for Hotstar’s growth this season, it may need another boost from Cricket World Cup to stay relevant in the country’s video streaming enthusiastic populace.