ODI Cricket World Cup final shatters more viewership records in India
Disney+ Hotstar, the prominent Indian OTT streaming service, has achieved another record in viewership during the broadcast of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 final.
The highly anticipated final that saw Australia carve out a six-wicket upset win over host nation India captured the attention of an average of 59 million concurrent viewers in India.
This surpasses Hotstar’s previous record of 53 million, set only a few days earlier during the tournament’s semi-final between India and New Zealand.
The significant interest in the competition is unsurprising, considering India’s status as the largest cricket-consuming market globally. The substantial viewership on Disney+ Hotstar, the streaming platform affiliated with linear broadcaster Star India, can be attributed in part to the platform’s provision of free mobile access to the games.
The 2023 ODI World Cup has consistently drawn strong viewership, leading to multiple instances of Hotstar’s viewership record being surpassed. India’s pool stage match against archrival Pakistan set a record for Hotstar with 35 million viewers. The latest record exceeding this by more than 20 million, underscoring the immense local interest in a tournament where the host country dominated until the final.
— ICC (@ICC) November 19, 2023
Star India has held the linear TV rights to the competition since 2014, and in August 2022, secured them once again for the period between 2024 and 2027. Disney acquired Star India in 2018, following its previous ownership by 21st Century Fox.
Despite the substantial value of these rights and the evident popularity of the product, reports suggest that Disney may be contemplating an exit from the Indian market. This potential move is likely influenced by the increasing encroachment of rival media company Viacom18 into Star India’s sports rights portfolio.
Viacom18, speculated to be a potential buyer for Hotstar, has expanded its presence through the Jio Cinema streaming service. Viacom18 now holds the domestic streaming rights for the prestigious Indian Premier League Twenty20 cricket tournament, a position formerly held by Hotstar.
Additionally, Viacom18 will showcase Indian national and domestic cricket matches for the next five years, further intensifying the competition for sports streaming rights in the Indian market.