In India, few events garner as much attention as a cricket game. A high-profile match India-Pakistan cricket match between neighboring countries delivered a much-needed break for Disney’s Hotstar, which has lost over 20 million subscribers in the past three quarters and whose executives are anticipated to intensify the hunt soon to find a buyer for its India operations.
Hotstar’s Triumph with the India-Pakistan Cricket Match
Disney’s Hotstar, a prominent player in India’s streaming market, achieved a remarkable feat during the India-Pakistan cricket match. The platform reclaimed the global on-demand video streaming record by drawing a staggering 35 million concurrent viewers to this thrilling cricket clash. The milestone outshone the recent record of 32 million viewers set by Viacom18’s JioCinema, backed by Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s richest man. Notably, like several others secured by Hotstar over the past five years, this record was related to the streaming of cricket matches.
Disney’s Strategic Moves in the Streaming Market
Disney has been making strategic moves to maintain its dominance in the Indian streaming space. As part of its efforts, Disney has been streaming ICC World Cup cricket matches at no cost to mobile viewers in India, aiming to counter Viacom18, which secured the five-year streaming rights of the cricket tournament IPL, rapidly gaining popularity in the process. Sajith Sivanandan, Head of Disney+ Hotstar India, expressed gratitude to the cricket fans and highlighted Hotstar’s commitment to delivering a superior viewing experience to its users. However, this success comes at a critical juncture for Disney, as it is actively seeking a buyer for Star India, the parent company of Hotstar.
The fate of Star India has been evolving due to shifting market conditions and the aggressive expansion by Mukesh Ambani’s Viacom18. Disney’s hopes are high for the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup, projected to reach over 50 million concurrent viewers and a significant portion of India’s annual video users during the tournament.