This beat the prior record of 35 Mn viewers, set just a week earlier during the India versus Pakistan match on October 14
The record-breaking streak followed Disney+ Hotstar's June announcement of free streaming for the Asia Cup and the upcoming ICC Men's Cricket World Cup on mobile devices
This development is likely to bring some relief to Disney+ Hotstar, the dominant streaming service in India
Disney+ Hotstar set a new global streaming viewership record during the India versus New Zealand Cricket World Cup 2023 on October 22, 2023. The match has helped the streaming giant draw a peak concurrency of around 43 Mn viewers.
This achievement surpassed the previous record of 35 Mn concurrent viewers, which occurred just over a week ago during the India versus Pakistan match on October 14.
The previous record was held by JioCinema, which reported 32 Mn concurrent viewers during the IPL 2023 finale in May 2023.
This back-to-back record-breaking streak comes after Disney+ Hotstar announced in June this year that it would offer mobile users free streaming of the Asia Cup and the upcoming ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup.
Disney+ Hotstar’s decision to offer free streaming appears to respond to stiff competition from JioCinema. Since October 2022, the platform has faced a decline in subscribers, with a 34% decrease over three consecutive quarters, reducing the total to 40.4 Mn as of July 1, 2023.
Before the 2023 Indian Premier League (IPL) season, JioCinema introduced free streaming of the T20 tournament, directly competing with Disney+ Hotstar. This drew 32 Mn viewers for the IPL 2023 final between the Chennai Super Kings and the Gujarat Titans on JioCinema.
Disney+ Hotstar also streamed the Asia Cup tournament for free on mobile devices, hitting a milestone of 28 Mn concurrent viewers during the India versus Pakistan cricket match, marking the highest digital viewership for any Indian cricket match at the time.
Further, the positive viewership numbers during the match are a much-needed boost for Disney+ Hotstar, which has been struggling to retain paying subscribers. Leveraging India’s cricket passion, the company had reached a record 61.3Mn paid subscribers by the end of the quarter ending September 2022.
However, when JioCinema offered free streaming of the IPL, Disney+ Hotstar saw a significant subscriber exodus, leaving it with 40.4 Mn paid users as of July 2023. The limited availability of high-quality English content and variety added to its challenges.
Besides holding media rights for ICC’s global tournaments in India, Disney+ Hotstar’s content primarily consists of Marvel films and TV shows. The increasing number of OTT channels and presence of premium content brands like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Zee5, Sony Liv, MX Player, among others, also pose tough competition for the platform.