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  • Nasima Akter

Disney+ Hotstar to Stream Cricket Tournaments

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Disney in India has made an exciting announcement for cricket fans across the country. The highly anticipated Asia Cup and ICC Men's Cricket World Cup tournaments, scheduled for later this year, will be accessible for free on Disney+ Hotstar, the popular streaming platform.

Recognizing the immense popularity of cricket in India, Disney aims to democratize the game and make it easily accessible to mobile phone users throughout the country. By lifting the paywall for mobile-only viewers, Disney is taking a step towards ensuring that the sport reaches as many people as possible during the season.

Cricket has long been a national obsession in India and holds a special place in the hearts of millions of fans in South Asia. Streaming platforms and broadcasters have recognized the immense potential of cricket as a way to attract and retain subscribers. Last year, during an auction for broadcasting rights, Disney secured the TV broadcast rights for the Indian Premier League cricket tournament. However, the digital rights were won by Viacom18 and JioCinema, backed by Reliance Industries Limited.

In the recently concluded 2023 edition of the IPL, Disney's Star pay-TV platform charged viewers, while JioCinema provided free coverage of the matches. Some reports suggested that this move might have led to a decline in Disney+ Hotstar subscribers. However, Disney denied these claims, stating that their ability to attract advertising remained unaffected.

While the impact of these changes is being analyzed, it is predicted that India might become the first market in the world where paying over-the-top (OTT) subscriptions decline faster than Pay-TV. Nevertheless, Disney+ Hotstar has maintained its position as a leading player in India's rapidly evolving OTT industry. The platform has consistently introduced innovative features to enhance the viewer experience and has successfully delighted audiences across the region.

Sajith Sivanandan, the head of Disney+ Hotstar, expressed his excitement about the upcoming tournaments. He emphasized the platform's commitment to the Indian market and its continuous efforts to grow the overall ecosystem. Sivanandan believes that providing access to the Asia Cup and ICC Men's Cricket World Cup to a wider audience will further strengthen their position in the industry.

In addition to these major tournaments, Disney+ Hotstar has reported significant viewership for other cricket properties. The Asia Cup 2022, ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022, and ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2023 garnered strong momentum among viewers. Furthermore, recent tournaments such as India vs. Sri Lanka, India vs. New Zealand, and India vs. Australia have also performed well on the platform.

The decision to make the Asia Cup and ICC Men's Cricket World Cup available for free on Disney+ Hotstar reflects the platform's commitment to cricket enthusiasts in India. By removing the paywall, Disney aims to ensure that the passion for the sport reaches the widest possible audience. Cricket fans across the country can now eagerly anticipate witnessing thrilling matches and supporting their favorite teams without any barriers.

As the popularity of cricket continues to soar in India, initiatives like these help in expanding the viewer base and fueling the growth of the sport. Disney+ Hotstar's efforts to provide accessible and engaging cricket content further cement its position as a frontrunner in India's OTT industry. With the upcoming tournaments set to captivate millions of fans, the stage is set for an exhilarating cricket season on Disney+ Hotstar.


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