While IPL streaming was on its cusp, the Disney Plus Hotstar platform wasn’t really stretched to work on its subscriber base. The streaming platform’s total subscriber base was around 50.1 million, well over a third of its global subscribers of 137.7 million. Half of Disney’s biggest subscriber growth came from India, thanks to IPL.
But last June, Viacom18, a platform owned by India’s top business group Reliance, snapped up IPL’s streaming rights in an intense auction.
At that time, we wrote that “with the loss of IPL streaming rights, Disney Plus Hotstar will see a huge erosion in its Indian subscribers (in millions)”.
And by chance, Walt Disney Co, the holding company, has lowered its subscriber target for the Disney Plus Hotstar service in India and, by extension, for the Disney Plus global platform. The company expects to have 215 million to 245 million global subscribers by the end of fiscal 2024, compared to the previously announced expectation of 230 million to 260 million. Disney Plus Hotstar’s own target has also been recalibrated to 80 million by the end of fiscal 2024.
Disney Plus and Disney Plus Hotstar will be distanced
The company has also decided to decouple Disney Plus Hotstar and Disney Plus when it comes to subscriber base computing. Christine McCarthy, Disney’s chief financial officer, said the separation was necessary because Disney Plus Hotstar is a different service that includes sports rights and other content not found on Disney Plus in other territories.
It is worth remembering that Disney launched Disney Plus in India on top of Hotstar in April 2020 and renamed the service Disney Plus Hotstar.
Disney Plus Hotstar, although it streams cinema and series-type entertainment content from the web, is not only dependent on cricket (read IPL) for subscribers, but also for advertising revenue. It is said that 70% of its advertising revenue is led by IPL.
Disney Plus Hotstar is still hoping to follow the cricket bandwagon. Rebecca Campbell, President of International Content and Operations for The Walt Disney Company, had previously said: “We will explore other cross-platform cricket rights, including future rights for the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). ), which we currently maintain in the 2023 and 2024 seasons, respectively.”
In addition, the platform holds the Pro Kabaddi League rights, the Indian Super League football rights, as well as a number of international sporting rights, including the Wimbledon Championship and the English Premier League. These events can save some numbers for this. But it needs a new plan to make up for the loss of IPL.