Today: 19-04-2024

Mickey's Victory: Disney Shatters Cricket Viewership Records in India with Unprecedented World Cup Broadcast Success Across TV and Streaming Platforms

BENGALURU, Nov 23 (Reuters) — In a triumphant announcement, Walt Disney revealed on Thursday that its television channels in India, coupled with its digital streaming platform, clinched unprecedented viewership records during the recently concluded men's cricket World Cup. A staggering 518 million Indian viewers tuned in to catch the thrilling matches over the 48-day tournament on TV, while Disney's streaming app witnessed a peak concurrent viewership of 59 million during the electrifying finals.

This disclosure from Disney comes amidst an intense competition with billionaire Mukesh Ambani's JioCinema in the booming streaming sector. Ambani has been actively promoting JioCinema, asserting that mobile streaming is the future of live match viewing, overshadowing traditional television. However, Disney's latest revelation seems to challenge this narrative. According to data from the broadcast industry body BARC, 300 million users tuned in specifically for the World Cup finals on TV, marking it as the most-watched event in Indian television history, as highlighted by Sanjog Gupta, head of sports at Disney Star.

As Disney basks in the glory of this record-breaking viewership, the company is also navigating strategic decisions for its India business, including the exploration of joint venture partnerships or a potential sale. To drive advertising revenue and counteract a subscriber decline, Disney adopted a bold strategy of offering free streaming of World Cup cricket on smartphones through Hotstar, a move mirrored by JioCinema.

The 13th edition of the cricket extravaganza, hosted by cricket-crazed India from Oct. 5 to Nov. 19, culminated in a captivating final where the home team faced defeat against Australia. The International Cricket Council (ICC) reported a record attendance of 1.25 million spectators in the stands during the World Cup.

Looking ahead, Disney has secured digital and streaming rights for ICC tournaments in India from 2024 to 2027, sealing the deal with a substantial $3 billion investment. The media giant's successful foray into cricket broadcasting solidifies its position in the Indian market, setting the stage for an exciting era in sports entertainment.

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