Due to strict quarantine measures in 2020, Over-the-top (OTT) platforms saw a rise in consumption all over the world. India also saw the OTT video consumption grow by 13 percent, led by Indian Premier League 2020 broadcast on Disney+ Hotstar.
According to new research by RedSeer Consulting, the consumption increased from 181 billion minutes in January 2020 to 204 billion minutes in January this year. The rates peaked during IPL in September and October, with respective rates of 228 billion minutes and 231 billion minutes. New releases on different platforms as well as Netflix’s free Streamfest in December also helped in driving the growth rate.
The report also stated that subscription video on demand (SVOD) platforms had the highest net promoter scores, led by Netflix at 59 per cent and Amazon Prime at 53 per cent, and followed by Hotstar, Voot, SonyLiv, Zee5 and MX Player. Although all these established SVODs registered profits in India, IPL and cricket enabled Disney to reach new heights with its one-year-old streaming service Disney+.
In April 2020, Disney expected Disney+ to reach 60 to 90 million subscribers by 2024. Thanks to its acquisition of 21st Century Fox for $71 billion in 2019, which included Fox-owned Star India and its streaming service Hotstar, Disney+ easily reached the mark of 87 million subscribers. Much of that growth is due to cricket.
Even before the Disney acquisition, Star India enjoyed a monopoly over all Indian cricket content due to their media rights deals with BCCI and IPL, which are worth Rs 6,138.1 crores and Rs 16,347.50 crores, respectively. Disney utilized these partnerships to increase its reach in India.
For instance, when Star’s Hotstar came under Disney’s control, the media giants smartly rebranded their new streaming app as Disney+ Hotstar in India in April 2020. As it became the only service to stream all cricketing action, including IPL 2020, cricket fans joined the app instantly. At the time of the rebrand, Disney+ added 8 million Hotstar subscribers, followed by 10 million more sign-ups in the next six months. By the end of 2020, Disney+ Hotstar subscribers reached 26 million, which is 30% of Disney+ customers worldwide.