In a bid to compete with Viacom18 and Reliance-owned JioCinema’s growth in the cricket-enthusiastic nation, Walt Disney Co’s Hotstar announced on Friday that they will be streaming the upcoming Asia Cup and 50-over World Cup for free to all mobile phone users accessing their application. This strategic move comes after Hotstar lost their digital streaming rights of the Indian Premier League to Viacom18, a deal worth approximately $2.9 billion covering the years 2023 to 2027. Viacom18 made the tournament freely accessible on JioCinema, resulting in record-breaking streaming figures during the 16th edition of the tournament.
By offering these high-profile cricket events for free. Hotstar aims not only to regain their position as a prominent player in the streaming industry. But also to counter the attempts of competitors like JioCinema to establish a monopoly in the country. Additionally, Disney has faced a significant decline in their subscriber base. With approximately 5 million users reportedly leaving their platform after losing the IPL streaming rights, according to a report by research firm CLSA.
“Disney+Hotstar has remained at the forefront of the rapidly evolving OTT industry in India. And the various innovations we have introduced to continue enhancing the viewer experience has allowed us to delight our audiences across the region. Making the Asia Cup and ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup available to a wider audience. We believe, will help us to grow the overall eco-system,”
Sajith Sivanandan, head of Disney+Hotstar said.
Hotstar to attract fans with two major tournaments of 2023
Despite the uncertainties surrounding the venue of the upcoming Asia Cup. India is scheduled to host the ODI World Cup later this year. Hotstar can find solace in the fact that JioCinema has recently implemented charges for their premium content. This development could potentially assist the Disney-owned streaming platform in regaining their user base.
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