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How The World Cup and Hotstar Grow Together In India

Credits: Hostar

Introduction

Hotstar is one of India’s best and foremost premium streaming platform following closely behind Netflix and Prime- its international counterparts. In the beginning of the cricketing season, the company had announced the live streaming of the extremely awaited and coveted ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.

Starting off on 30th May 2019 in the United Kingdom, this season is following the round-robin format which was observed last 27 years ago during the 1992 World Cup. This competition format will give enthusiasts of the sport an exciting opportunity to see the most number of matches during a World Cup and is even more incentive to increase viewership from India. Hotstar has recorded double the amount of growth in viewership for ODIs in just a year i.e. since 2018 and has promised to make this World Cup a bigger spectacle for the Indian and international audience than it has ever been. Yes, you heard us right- Hotstar is also going international. This year, consumers in the US and Canada will also be able to catch all the action on Hotstar on the web on (us.hotstar.com).

“We aim to continue delivering an uninterrupted and immersive cricket watching experience not just to the domestic consumer but to global audiences in the US and Canada as well,” Varun Narang, Chief Product Officer, Hotstar is quoted to have said in a statement.

Viewership and Advertising

Thus any Indian user could view the match from their phones, laptops, mobile, streaming stick a la Firestick or Chromecast as well as on living room devices like Roku TV, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Android TV, and Samsung Smart TV. It would be the first ODI Worldcup that was streamable in India and was a phenomenon waiting to explode. Of course, the success of the WorldCup and Hostar’s important part to play in it is further cemented by the IPL’s smashing success on the streaming platform.

“IPL 2019 was a record-breaking tournament for Hotstar, with the platform not only registering an excess of 300 million unique users but also witnessing a 74% increase in watch-time as compared to last year, further cementing its position as the home of digital sports viewing in India.”, quotes a news platform.

Hotstar also broke its previous global concurrency records with 18.6 million people viewing the IPL 2019 finale at any given point of time as an average,. The season also observed an overall 45% growth in Tier 2 and Tier 3 city viewership with some of the highest growth in coming from cities like Coimbatore, Lucknow, Patna, Ranchi, and Salem.

The recently concluded VIVO IPL 2019 was a record-breaking tournament for Hotstar, with the platform not only registering an excess of 300 million unique users but also witnessing a 74% increase in watch-time as compared to last year, further cementing its position as the home of digital sports viewing in India. Hotstar also broke its previous global concurrency records with 18.6 million concurrent viewership during the IPL 2019 finale. The season also observed an overall 45% growth in non-metro viewership with some of the highest growth in viewership coming from cities like Coimbatore, Lucknow, Patna, Ranchi, and Salem.

The company is also headstrong in penetrating the Indian market deeper rather than just keeping its focus of going wider. The ICC Cricket World Cup tournament will also be streamed across 6 languages when it comes to commentary on Hotstar. With increased viewership from various sections of the Indian market Both the ICC Cricket World Cup and the Indian Premier League bring in billions in ad revenues and sponsorships, and millions of people in viewership from India itself.

Obviously, the big money is involved and the numbers are bigger for India matches alone. The cost of an ad for a match featuring the Indian team is upwards of $2 million for 10 seconds, there are all match packages costing a whopping $1 million lakh. There are sponsorship packages going at an average of $400 million and digital sponsorships starting at $150 million. These numbers are quoted by MK Machaiah, President Content+, Mindshare, South Asia.

The reason why most India matches are scheduled on the weekend is that the country brings in a dominating amount of viewership which gives the BCCI monopoly as viewership control the investments and ad revenue streams from external parties. The streaming platform has announced Dream 11, Uber Eats, Amazon Pay and Coca Cola as the co-presenting sponsors this year, while the associate sponsors include Royal Challenge, Acko, CEAT, and ICICI Lombard.

Along with this Hotstar is riding ahead of the success of the #KoiYaarNahiFar campaign that it had conducted for VIVO IPL 2019. The streaming company is retaining the community aspect of the game with the Watch ‘N Play feature, creating a competitive and engaging cricket-watching experience for everyone using the platform. Through Watch ‘N Play, Hotstar will bring people together irrespective of their location.

“Viewers will get the opportunity to invite their friends and family to Hotstar, enabling them to watch the matches and play the Watch ‘N Play game together. The feature will allow viewers to make their voices heard by chatting about the match and share their Watch ‘N Play experience, not only with their friends and family but also experts and celebrities.”, quotes a news excerpt.

Commenting on this, Varun Narang, Chief Product Officer at Hotstar is quoted to say that

“Our success in the IPL 2019 in terms of viewership and reach is a testament to the platform’s superior standard of live sports streaming. Over the years, Hotstar has constantly raised the bar of tech innovation, proving its mettle at handling the immense scale and traffic seamlessly. With the cricket behemoth, ICC World Cup 2019, on Hotstar, we aim to continue delivering an uninterrupted and immersive cricket watching experience not just to the domestic consumers, but to global audiences in the US and Canada as well.”

The perfect penetration of a digital streaming platform coupled with the flood of data time from players like Jio makes it an exciting time for sports streaming in India. The Cricket Worldcup will be one of the stepping stones into making India a completely digital driven viewership base and leaving traditional TV players struggling.

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