The Asia Cup and ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup tournaments being held later this year will be made available free-to-view to all Disney+ Hotstar mobile phone users in India, according to Variety.
- Cricket is a national obsession in India and other parts of South Asia and, as such, is a major magnet for streamers and broadcasters that use it to attract and retain subscribers.
- Last year, Disney bowed out of the bidding on cricket streaming rights for India’s Premier League after prices got high, with Viacom instead getting the rights at a cost of $2.6 billion.
- However, they did secure the exclusive TV rights package for the 2023-2027 Indian Premier League cricket seasons for a reported $3 billion.
- While Disney+ Hotstar may have lost subscribers as a result, the company denied reports by media analysts that said its ability to attract advertising had also been affected.
- Disney+ Hotstar also reported “strong viewership momentum” for other cricket properties, including the Asia Cup 2022, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022, and ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023.
What They’re Saying:
- Disney said in a statement: “The move to lift the paywall for mobile-only viewers […] is aimed at further democratizing the game of cricket and making it accessible to as many mobile users in India as possible for the duration of the season.”
- Sajith Sivanandan, head of Disney+ Hotstar: “Disney+ Hotstar has remained at the forefront of the rapidly evolving OTT industry in India and the various innovations we have introduced to continue enhancing the viewer experience has allowed us to delight our audiences across the region. Making the Asia Cup and ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup available to a wider audience, we believe, will help us grow the overall ecosystem.”