India and Australia World Cup final breaks Hotstar’s live streaming record | TechCrunch

Few events in India attract as much attention as a cricket match. The World Cup final is also unparalleled.

Sunday’s game has surpassed 55 million concurrent viewers, breaking the 53 million milestone. Set earlier this weekWith no high-profile cricket matches happening anytime soon, Hotstar is likely to retain this record for at least six months.

Hotstar now maintains a clear lead over rival Mukesh Ambani-backed Viacom18-owned JioCinema in terms of concurrent viewers. It peaked at 32 million earlier this year.

The milestone also comes as Disney offers live streaming of ICC World Cup cricket matches for free to mobile viewers in India, where it is rapidly losing digital subscribers and is assessing the future of its business there. Hotstar has lost more than 23 million subscribers in the past year, according to Disney.

Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger said earlier this month that the company “wants to stay” in India and is considering options in the world’s most populous country, where its TV business will continue to be profitable.

The company has held preliminary talks with several companies in recent months, including Ambani’s Indian conglomerate Reliance, as well as a number of private equity giants as it attracts interest in its Indian operations. The business was the crown jewel of Fox’s portfolio when Disney acquired it.

But in recent years, as the market environment has deteriorated, Star India’s fortunes have changed, forcing Iger to shift its focus to its core business. Ambani poached several Star India executives to lead Viacom18 and agreed to spend huge sums of money, which did not help Hotstar. Spending $3 billion for five years to broadcast the IPL cricket tournament. (Disney also spent about $3 billion on the IPL, but on televising the games.) Viacom18 will be joined by Bodhi Tree, which will be run by former Fox executives Uday Shankar and James Murdoch. important supporter.

Disney has high hopes for the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup. The global streamer has told marketers that the nearly 50-day series will have more than 50 million online viewers and reach 82% of India’s total annual video users, according to a report reviewed by TechCrunch 53 pages of internal slides.

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