- 59 million people tuned into Disney+ Hotstar to tune into the Cricket World Cup final between Australia and India on Sunday.
- This broke a record set last week when 53 million viewers watched India beat New Zealand in the semi-finals.
- Whether Disney+ Hotstar will be able to leverage this momentum and claw back the 23 million subscribers it lost last year remains to be seen.
Following South Africa’s impressive run through to the ICC Cricket World Cup semi-finals, the Proteas were unfortunately knocked out last week by Australia who went on to face tournament favourite India in the final.
The two nations faced off at Narendra Modi Stadium on Sunday where Australia won the toss and elected to field rather than bat first. Australia went on to win the match by six wickets.
The match drew in viewers by the millions and after setting a new record just last week, the World Cup broke another record on Sunday. On 15th November, Disney+ Hotstar set a new record where 53 million concurrent viewers tuned in when the host nation faced New Zealand. On Sunday, as many as 59 million concurrent viewers were watching Australia take on India in the final. As TechCrunch points out, with no major cricket games happening soon, this is a record Disney+ Hotstar may hold on to for a while.
While that is a big figure, whether Disney can turn these folks – who may have been watching the World Cup for free – into paying customers, remains to be seen. Disney+ Hotstar reportedly lost 23 million subscribers in the last year and while the allure of a World Cup may get folks hooked for the month or two the tournament is on, we’re not so sure folks would intentionally keep paying. To be clear though, those streaming the Cricket World Cup on mobile in India could do so for free.
The heights achieved during the World Cup will surely be good news for Disney which only projected highs of 50 million concurrent viewers. Surpassing that figure twice in one week is surely going to have Bob Iger and Co. rubbing their palms together in glee.
It’s not just Disney that is suffering in Asian countries. Netflix saw its Asia-Pacific subscriber base decline 9 percent last quarter amidst zero growth in the US and single-digit growth in EMEA and Latin America.
Sport is clearly a draw card for streaming platforms in some countries but it really depends on the sport, the country and the streaming platform in question. SuperSport for instance chose to discount DStv Stream in order to get folks to subscribe ahead of the Rugby World Cup Final and while we’re sure some folks continued that subscription, we suspect many more than that likely cancelled their subscription before the final whistle.
A big win for Disney+ Hotstar then but whether it can capitalise on the momentum it built remains to be seen.