Disney+ Hotstar sets new global record for live streaming during ICC World Cup 2023
By siliconindia | Monday, 20 November 2023, 05:49:30 PM IST
During the final match of ICC ODI World Cup 2023 between India and Australia, Disney's video streaming service Disney+ Hotstar broke a new record for global live streaming viewership. The platform had 59 million concurrent viewers, surpassing the previous record of 53 million concurrent viewers set during the India versus New Zealand semi-final match. Disney+ Hotstar, which is currently the market leader in India's booming streaming landscape, has been on a record-breaking streak over the past month.
The success of Disney+ Hotstar has been fueled by its decision to offer free ad-supported streaming of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup and the recently concluded Asia Cup to mobile users in India. This move was made after its rival service, JioCinema, streamed the IPL tournament for free to consumers earlier this year. Sajith Sivanandan, head of Disney+ Hotstar, believes that providing access to the Asia Cup and ICC Men's Cricket World Cup to a wider audience will help grow the overall ecosystem.
This milestone comes at a time when Disney is considering various options for its India business, which it inherited as part of its $71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox in 2019. "It is one of the most populous countries in the world, second to China. We would like to stay in that market but we are also looking to see whether we can strengthen our hand and improve the bottom line", Disney CEO Bob Iger said during the company's earnings call.
Disney's subsidiary, Novi Digital Entertainment, which owns Disney+ Hotstar, reported a net loss of Rs 748 crore in FY23, a 118 percent increase from the previous year's loss of Rs 343.16 crore. In contrast, the company's revenue increased by 35 percent to Rs 4,341 crore in FY23 from Rs 3,259 crore in FY22. Disney+ Hotstar has been struggling to retain its subscribers, with a loss of 23.7 million paid subscribers in the last year alone, including a drop of 2.8 million subscribers in the latest quarter. As a result, the service's overall subscriber base has declined to 37.6 million in the quarter ending September 2023, from a peak of 61.3 million in October of last year.
The decline in the subscriber base is primarily due to Disney+ Hotstar losing access to key content offerings that were instrumental in driving its initial growth in India: IPL streaming rights and premium HBO content, which Viacom18's JioCinema now holds the rights to. During the company's earnings conference call in August 2023, Kevin Lansberry, who was serving as Disney's interim CFO at the time, attributed the subscriber decline to a product adjustment from one that was centered around the IPL to a more balanced one with other sports and entertainment offerings.
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