The Indian Premier League LIVE streaming will come at a premium now.
In a major strategic shift in its OTT business model for IPL, Star India has decided to move LIVE streaming from Disney+ Hotstar to the paid platform Disney+ Hotstar Premium.
The fans willing to catch the action on digital screens will have to now shell out either ₹ 498 on account of the premium for the two-month duration of the league or ₹ 1,499 as the annual subscription. The add ons on the Disney+ Hotstar Premier are plenty.
The move will lead to a major fall in the digital audience of the cash-rich league. Star India is prepared to take the hit to increase the subscription-based business of its premier OTT service.
The IPL 2019 had registered a cumulative 300 million viewers on Hotstar. The 18.6 million peak concurrent audience during the final between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings is a record for any LIVE sports event in India.
A market source has confirmed to SportzFront that the Walt Disney Company-owned broadcast network has estimated the cumulative IPL 2020 viewership to come down to around 60 million – down 80% from the previous season. That will also lead to a significant decline in the sponsorship revenue for the OTT platform.
“This strategic move, however, will not change the overall P&L of the group. The part of sponsorship revenue loss will be covered by an increase in the subscription fee. The IPL audience will eventually stay with Star India. Fans not opting for subscription platform will switch to the Star Sports television network for the LIVE action,” said the source.
Disney+ Hotstar was expecting to pull up to ₹ 400 crores in sponsorship revenue from the March-May IPL 2020 schedule. A switch to the paid platform would lead to sponsorship earnings coming down to a₹ 200 crores to ₹ 250 crores, said the source.
Star Sports has factored in that as a gain for the broadcast sponsors.