Disney’s Hotstar achieves a groundbreaking milestone with 59 million concurrent viewers during a highly anticipated World Cup final cricket match in India. This surpasses the previous record of 53 million viewers set just a week earlier. With no significant cricket events in the near future, Hotstar is poised to maintain this record for at least six months. The platform now holds a substantial lead in concurrent viewership over its competitor, JioCinema, which peaked at 32 million earlier this year.
This achievement occurs against the backdrop of Disney facing challenges in the Indian market, including a decline in digital subscribers. Disney CEO Bob Iger expressed a commitment to the Indian market but acknowledged the need to evaluate options. Preliminary talks with potential partners, including Reliance and private equity firms, have taken place. However, the dynamics of Star India have evolved, with market conditions prompting a shift in focus to core businesses.
Hotstar’s subscriber base has experienced a decline of more than 23 million in the past year, according to Disney. The platform faces competition, notably from Viacom18’s JioCinema, led by Mukesh Ambani, who has attracted top executives from Star India and invested $3 billion to stream the IPL cricket tournament for five years. Despite these challenges, Disney had high expectations for the ICC Cricket World Cup, projecting over 50 million concurrent viewers and aiming to reach 82% of India’s total annual video users during the 50-day series.