Fans across India will have to pay a considerable amount if they want to watch the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Disney+Hotstar. Unlike the previous editions, the streaming for the upcoming edition will come at a premium now. Consequently, the fans, who wish to watch IPL on digital screens, will have to pay.
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, according to a report in SportzFront. The fans will now have to 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 move will lead to a major fall in the digital audience of the cash-rich league. However, Star India is prepared to take the hit to increase the subscription-based business of its premier OTT service. Last year, the IPL had registered a cumulative 300 million viewers on Hotstar. The 18.6 million peaks concurrent audience during the final between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings is a record for any LIVE sports event in India.
The report further quoted a market source as saying 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.
Meanwhile, IPL 2020 will be played in UAE due to the coronavirus situation in India. The tournament is scheduled to start on September 19 while the final is scheduled on November 10. The eight teams will be leaving for UAE soon this month.