- Disney+ Hotstar sets a new record with 53 million viewers during the crucial India vs New Zealand semi-final showdown.
- The victory establishes a substantial lead over its competitor, JioCinema, which witnessed a peak viewership of 32 million earlier this year.
- Does this remarkable achievement hint at a prospective revival for Disney in the Indian market?
With the ICC World Cup 2023 reaching its pinnacle, India’s historic nine-match winning streak has the nation on the edge. In the midst of the high-stakes semi-finals, Disney+ Hotstar steals the spotlight by smashing records with an incredible 53 million viewers during the crucial India vs. New Zealand showdown. As the cricketing drama intensifies, Hotstar’s triumph adds an extra layer of excitement to the thrilling tournament narrative.
Such numbers establish a substantial lead over its competitor, JioCinema, which is supported by Mukesh Ambani’s Viacom18 and had a peak viewership of 32 million earlier this year during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 final featuring Chennai Super Kings versus Gujarat Titans on the platform.
Thank you #TeamIndia fans and Disney+ hotstar users for breaking the record, yet again! 🎉🥳
— Disney+ Hotstar (@DisneyPlusHS) November 15, 2023
Interestingly, this achievement unfolds against the backdrop of Disney’s strategic move to stream ICC World Cup cricket matches for free to mobile viewers in India in a bid to counter Viacom18’s influence. Moreover, this success contrasts with Disney’s recent challenges in the Indian market, where it is grappling with a decline in digital subscribers and contemplating the future of its local business.
Nevertheless, amid widespread speculation regarding the future of Walt Disney’s business ventures in India, CEO Bob Iger has emphatically affirmed the company’s steadfast commitment to the Indian market. The matter was raised during a recent earnings call, with concerns lingering about the potential exit of Disney from the Indian market. In response, Iger clarified the company’s stance, emphasising the profitability of their linear business in India despite acknowledged challenges in some regions of their operations.
In the last quarter of 2023, Disney+ Hotstar had 37.6 million paid subscribers, 7% down from the previous quarter’s 40.4 million.
Star India’s earnings fell from $116 million to $92 million in sports compared to the same quarter last year. The operating income dropped by 29%, from $17 million to $12 million. Despite this, the overall revenue from the sports segment stayed the same at $3.9 billion in both Q4 FY23 and Q4 FY22.
However, the remarkable viewership achievements hint at a prospective revival for Disney within India’s fiercely competitive digital landscape.