Disney+ Hotstar, a regional streaming service owned by Walt Disney Co., drew a record 35 million concurrent viewers during a cricket world cup match between India and its arch rival Pakistan on Saturday.
(Bloomberg) — Disney+ Hotstar, a regional streaming service owned by Walt Disney Co., drew a record 35 million concurrent viewers during a cricket world cup match between India and its arch rival Pakistan on Saturday.
That was the highest peak concurrency number achieved across all formats of cricket, the company said in a statement. The Men’s Cricket World Cup match in India’s Ahmedabad city marked a watershed moment for digital sports viewership across the country, it said.
India beat Pakistan by seven wickets in the match. The last peak concurrency was 28 million during the 2023 Asia Cup game between the two neighbors.
Disney has been weighing strategic options for its businesses in India, including an outright sale or setting up a joint venture, after the unit lost its streaming rights to the Indian Premier League cricket tournament to Viacom18 Media Pvt. Viacom is a joint venture between Reliance, Paramount Global and Uday Shankar’s investment firm Bodhi Tree Systems.
Viewers in the cricket-crazy nation tuned in to the Disney streaming service, which adopted a strategy from rival Reliance Industries Ltd. and showed the World Cup matches in India for free — a move aimed at clawing back some subscribers even if it means sacrificing revenue.
India is hosting the Cricket World Cup for the first time in 12 years, prompting fans to flock to stadiums and digital devices. The sport’s huge popularity in the country has made the Board of Control for Cricket in India among the richest sporting bodies in the world, thanks to the success of the glitzy, American franchise-style local Indian Premier League cricket contest.
The IPL has revolutionized the game since its inception in 2008, bringing Bollywood glamor to the sport. Described as the Super Bowl of cricket, it’s one of the world’s fastest-growing sporting events.
JioCinema, a streaming service owned by Mukesh Ambani’s conglomerate, in April drew more than 1.47 billion video views during the opening weekend of the IPL. The digital rights were secured by Asia’s richest man for $2.7 billion last year.
–With assistance from Bibhudatta Pradhan.
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