Over-the-top streaming platform Disney+ Hotstar has achieved a groundbreaking milestone by drawing 59 million concurrent viewers during the ICC World Cup cricket final between India and Australia on Sunday, according to a TechCrunch report. The Walt Disney-owned company has surpassed its previous record of 53 million concurrent viewers during the India-New Zealand semifinals earlier in the week.
The record-breaking viewership occurred during the much-anticipated World Cup final, where sadly Australia defeated India, demonstrating the unparalleled popularity of cricket in India. This event reportedly not only surpassed Hotstar’s own previous record but also significantly outdid its competitor, Viacom18’s JioCinema, which is backed by Indian business magnate Mukesh Ambani and had peaked at 32 million viewers earlier this year.
The media report highlighted that the success of this CWC final broadcast comes at a crucial time for Disney in the country. The company has been facing challenges with a decline in digital subscribers, losing reportedly over 23 million subscribers in the past year. Despite this, Disney’s Chief Executive Bob Iger has expressed a commitment to the Indian market, highlighting the ongoing profitability of its TV business in the country.
The achievement of Hotstar during the Cricket World Cup final is particularly notable given Disney’s projections to marketers. An internal document seen by TechCrunch revealed that the company expected to reach over 50 million concurrent viewers during the tournament and capture a substantial 82% of India’s annual video audience. This milestone not only meets but exceeds these expectations, demonstrating Hotstar’s strong grip on the Indian streaming market, especially in the domain of cricket broadcasting.
As Disney evaluates the future of its operations in India and considers potential partnerships or sales, this record-breaking event emphasizes the significant value and potential of the Indian streaming market.