Free ICC World Cup and Asia Cup on Disney+ Hotstar. Following JioCinema's lead?
Making Asia Cup and ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup available to a wider audience, we believe, will help us grow the overall eco-system: Disney+ Hotstar official
Disney+ Hotstar announced on Friday that the upcoming Asia Cup and ICC Men's Cricket World Cup events, scheduled to take place later this year, will be accessible for free to mobile phone users. This move comes in the wake of JioCinema offering free streaming of the Tata IPL 2023 tournament to all its users.
"The various innovations we have introduced to continue enhancing the viewer experience have allowed us to delight our audiences across the region. Making the Asia Cup and ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup available to a wider audience, we believe, will help us grow the overall eco-system,” Sajith Sivanandan, head of Disney+ Hotstar said in a statement.
Why Disney+ Hotstar is giving free access?
The announcement follows JioCinema which got huge success by offering free access to its platform during the recently concluded IPL.
JioCinema, the official streaming partner who paid ₹23,758 crore for digital rights, announced that a record 44.9 crore total viewers tuned in for IPL on the OTT platform.
The concurrent viewership on JioCinema was 3.2 crore, while the second qualifier between Gujarat Titans and Mumbai Indians had 2.57 crore.
JioCinema is reportedly transitioning to a paid model, signalling a shift towards charging for its content.
IPL free streaming is a gamechanger for JioCinema
According to a recent survey from Bobble AI, JioCinema experienced a 4X increase in penetration during the IPL, rising from under 3 per cent to 40.26 per cent. Here penetration refers to the percentage of users using the application, out of the total Indian internet smartphone population, during that time frame.
It initially gained traction during the FIFA World Cup 2022, reaching a penetration rate of 9 per cent. Both tournaments were free on the platform.
If we compare this with Disney+Hotstar, the survey says IPL 2022 contributed a 3.5 per cent boost to Disney+Hotstar’s penetration, increasing it from 30.24 per cent to 33.51 per cent. The platform already has a substantial base due to its other shows.
Disney+ Hotstar, however, says the aim is to 'democratise cricket'
In the statement, Disney+ Hotstar said the move is aimed at further "democratising the game of cricket" and making it available to as many mobile users in India as possible for the length of the season.