Cricket is more than just a sport in India; it's an emotion. And for Disney's Hotstar, this cricket season has become a game-changer. As the streaming platform looks for a buyer for its India operations, it regained the crown for concurrent viewership with a staggering 35 million people tuning in to watch the high-profile India-Pakistan match.
This landmark achievement surpasses Viacom18’s JioCinema, which previously held the record with 32 million viewers. Disney's aggressive push to broadcast ICC World Cup cricket matches for free to mobile viewers in India has proven to be a masterstroke, especially considering Viacom18 outbid the global giant for the five-year streaming rights of the IPL cricket tournament.
"We would like to thank all the fans who tuned in to watch the India-Pakistan match on Disney+ Hotstar. Your love for the game is what made it possible for Disney+ Hotstar to break all the previous records across all cricket formats and hit a peak concurrency number of 3.5 crore viewers," said Sajith Sivanandan, Head of Disney+ Hotstar India.
This record is a morale booster for Disney as it looks for a buyer for Star India, which controls Hotstar. Disney's top India executives are preparing to head to the US to finalize the fate of Disney India business shortly after the ongoing cricket World Cup ends next month. With preliminary talks held with various firms, including Reliance, and a changing market landscape, the fate of Star India now holds a different significance for the media giant.
Disney is pinning its hopes on the ICC Cricket World Cup, projecting that it can reach over 50 million concurrent viewers during the tournament and engage 82% of the total annual video users in India. Cricket seems to be the golden ticket, and Disney is making the most of it.