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Disney+ Hotstar faces subscriber losses amidst tough competition from JioCinema

Indian streaming service, Hotstar, owned by Disney, experienced a loss of 4.6 million subscribers in the first quarter of 2023, marking the second consecutive quarter of subscriber decline. This brings the total loss of subscribers to 8.4 million since October of 2022. Hotstar’s revenue also decreased, with the average revenue per subscriber falling from 74 cents to 59 cents in the quarter.

The loss of subscribers is largely attributed to Hotstar’s loss of the rights to live stream the Indian Premier League cricket tournament to Viacom18’s JioCinema platform.

Viacom18 is now streaming the tournament for free in India. Hotstar also terminated some distribution partnerships with telecom firms and its licensing agreement with HBO. The platform has around 53 million subscribers but is predicted to experience further subscriber loss, potentially reaching an additional 7 million by the end of the year.

“Lower impressions were attributable to decreases in average viewership at our sports and non-sports channels. The decrease at our sports channels was primarily due to cricket programming, which reflected airing fewer Indian Premier League (IPL) matches in the current quarter compared to the prior-year quarter as the 2023 IPL season started approximately one week later than the 2022 season,” Disney said in its earnings report Wednesday.

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