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Disney+ Hotstar Loses IPL Digital Rights, Likely to Focus on Original Content

The ongoing auction for the broadcast rights to India’s most popular sports league has seen fierce competition. Supported by Reliance Industries Viacom18 taken Disney+ Hotstar crown jewel by purchasing the digital rights for the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Viacom18 bought the rights for Rs 20,500 crore while Disney Star, owned by Walt Disney Co., secured the TV rights for around Rs 23,600 crore for the Indian subcontinent, according to multiple reports.

The Cricket Control Board or the BCCI representative had no comment on the ongoing bidding process. The cricket governing body, which also runs IPL, launched the online auction on June 12, 2022 and said it would officially reveal the winners in around a day or two.

“It will be a difficult time for Hotstar as the digital rights have gone to Viacome18. Hotstar is expected to return to planning focusing more on non-sports activities. Hotstar was receiving a large share of subscribers and revenue through IPL,” said Abneesh Roy. , Executive Director, Edelweiss Financial Service, an investment and financial services company.

Disney+ Hotstar did not respond to a query shared by Your story while Viacom18 declined to comment.

Unlike 2017, where all rights were bound in the auction, this time BCCI split the categories into groups such as Category A for Indian subcontinent TV rights, Digital rights fall under Category B, category C is made up of a non-exclusive package open only to OTTs (over-the-top entertainment platforms), and category D is for the rest of the world.

Currently, only Category A and B would be sold to Disney Star and Viacom18 respectively. Categories C and D are up for grabs in the ongoing IPL rights auction.

IPL was launched in 2008 and the league has since attracted new viewers looking for viewers away from test matches. The richest professional sports league outside of North America, the total value of IPL was nearly Rs 36,000 crore after the 2021 edition.

In the Indian market, this has led to cricket achieving cult status, consolidating viewership and giving the sport a 94% share of media rights, according to Elara Capital.

STAR, under the management of Uday Shankar, won the bid in 2017 for the digital and broadcast rights to IPL for a whopping Rs 16,347 crore. The Disney-run content house outbid Facebook, which offered Rs 3,900 crore for digital-only rights, Sony, Amazon Prime Video and Airtel. The offers of these last three are not disclosed.

Over the past five years, Disney+ Hotstar has been able to attract millions of cricket-hungry viewers. Although the streaming giant did not reveal its viewership numbers, IPL’s television audience numbered 116 million unique viewers watching the first 14 matches.

But now, with only the TV rights to work with an increasingly digital-savvy audience, Disney Star will have to pull up its socks.

“At $3 billion, Disney will need to capitalize on TV ad growth of 8-10% per year, although growth in broadcast subscription revenue may be challenged due to rate regulation and growing adoption of connected TVs,” Mihir Shah, Vice President, Media Partners Asia, a Singapore-based research and advisory firm, said. Your story in an email response.

For Viacom 18, this bet pays off for its new streaming platform controlled by Reliance Industries. “The platform will leverage day one access to Jio’s 400 million broadband customers. Additionally, the value of the rights could be justified as the company aims to address a much larger revenue pool. most important of video, data and e-commerce,” said Mihir.

Certainly, while IPL was a huge attraction for Disney+ Hotstar, the streaming player currently has Star Wars, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU superhero shows and movies, plus the entire Disney catalog of animated movies. These include Moon Knight; Shang Chi; the Avenger films, which were the highest-grossing films of all time, and spin-off shows; and Mrs. Wondera show about an American Muslim teenager being the latest addition.

Apart from that, Disney+ Hotstar also offers content in regional languages ​​including Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Marathi and streams HBO content including Emmy award-winning shows like Euphoria, Successionand Easttown Maremaking the platform a holistic offering and also priced at Rs 299 per month, going up to Rs 1,499 per year.

(This story has been updated with an edited title and some style changes)