India's Hotstar Reached 18.6 Million Concurrent Views, Sets a Global Record
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India's Hotstar Reached 18.6 Million Concurrent Views, Sets a Global Record

By IndraStra Global News Team

On May 12, 2019, Walt Disney-owned and Star India-run over the top (OTT) platform Hotstar hosted about 18.6 million concurrent viewers on its app during the final of the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) between Mumbai Indians (MI) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK). IPL is an annual cricket extravaganza and the game itself is almost followed like a religion in India.

This year's concurrent viewership is 8.6 million more than last year's. In 2018, during the 11th edition of IPL 10 million logged onto the platform to watch the final fixture played between Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad. This year during IPL, the OTT platform claimed to cross more than 10 million viewership many times. On March 28, Hotstar claimed to set a viewership record of 12.7 million during Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) Vs Mumbai Indians (MI) match.

In 2017, Star India, then owned by 21st Century Fox, secured the rights to broadcast and stream the IPL cricket tournament for five years for a sum of roughly US$ 2.5 billion. Facebook also participated in the bidding, offering approx. US$ 600 million for streaming. Earlier this year, Walt Disney India acquired Star India for  US$ 71.3 billion.

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Hotstar has been reshaping the IPL viewing experience in India. In addition to the features that were introduced last year, the platform has rolled out a first-ever social cricket-watching experience this season. With ‘Koi Yaar Nahi Far’, Hotstar is bringing people together irrespective of their location giving viewers the opportunity to invite their friends and family to the platform, watch the matches, and participate in the Watch ‘N Play game together. Fans can compete and see where they stand against their friends and family through the new social leaderboard.

Last month, at Disney’s Investor Day, Walt Disney Asia Pacific president and Star/Disney India chairman & CEO Uday Shankar recently made a presentation on the health of India business and the local media market. During which he put forward his optimistic views on the Indian digital video market that has reached enough scale to build a subscription model. On the basis of that view, the company has recently launched Hotstar VIP service which offers all content at ₹365 (US$ 5.2) a year.

According to Shankar, “We believe that now that the Indian market is ready for a subscription push and that is why we are using Hotstar’s strength as a massive AVoD (Video Advertising) platform to establish compelling SVoD (Subscription) service for the top-end of our consumers. This is driven by premium content and easy transaction experience.”

U.S.-based SVoDs Amazon Prime Video and Netflix have attempted to break into the Indian market, but Hotstar is still the dominant player. According to research from Jana released last summer, Hotstar holds 69.7% of the market in India, while Amazon holds 5% and Netflix holds just 1.4%.