On November 15, Disney’s video streaming service, Disney+ Hotstar, achieved a historic global live streaming viewership milestone, garnering a record-breaking 53 million concurrent viewers. The surge in viewership occurred during the ICC ODI World Cup 2023 semi-final match, where former Indian captain Virat Kohli marked his 50th century against New Zealand.
This accomplishment surpassed the previous record of 44 million concurrent viewers, established during the India versus South Africa match on November 5. Disney+ Hotstar, currently dominating India’s flourishing streaming landscape, has consistently set new records over the past month.
The platform’s success can be attributed to its strategic move of offering free ad-supported streaming of major cricket events, including the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup and the recently concluded Asia Cup, to mobile users in India. This initiative was implemented in response to JioCinema streaming the IPL tournament for free earlier in the year.
Sajith Sivanandan, Head of Disney+ Hotstar, emphasized the platform’s commitment to expanding its audience base, stating, “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.”
In another significant announcement, Disney+ Hotstar revealed that the upcoming tenth season of the Pro Kabaddi League, scheduled to commence on December 2, 2023, will be streamed for free to all mobile users across the country. Kabaddi, the second most-watched sport in India after cricket, is expected to further engage and captivate a diverse audience.
“The landscape of sports viewing is evolving … The popularity of Pro Kabaddi League spans across age groups, and by making it available to all our audience on Disney+ Hotstar, our aim is to make Kabaddi accessible to all of India and foster a stronger sense of engagement amongst the fans,” stated Sivanandan on November 7.