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JioCinema surpasses Hotstar by 8.4 million subscribers

Disney’s total subscriber base fell 2% in the quarter ending March this year. The decline is mostly due to Hotstar.

Disney+ Hotstar, which serves India and Southeast Asia, lost 4.6 million subscribers in the quarter. For the second quarter in a row, the platform’s subscriber count fell. Hotstar has lost 8.4 million subscribers since October 2018, according to Disney’s earnings reports. Hotstar has 53 million subscribers in India, its biggest market.

Disney’s problems go beyond subscriber loss. The streaming service’s subscribers are also reducing revenue. In the quarter ending March, Hotstar’s average revenue per subscriber fell from 74 cents to 59 cents.

Live streaming of cricket matches, particularly the local IPL tournament, attracted customers to Fox’s Indian streaming platform, which Disney acquired. Viacom18, backed by Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries, outbid Disney for this season’s IPL digital rights. JioCinema is streaming India’s IPL for free to attract customers.

Hotstar’s subscriber loss may also be due to its telecom distribution partnerships ending.

Our sports and non-sports channels had lower average viewership, which lowered impressions. In its earnings report Wednesday, Disney said, “The decrease at our sports channels was primarily due to cricket programming, which reflected airing fewer Indian Premier League (IPL) matches in the current quarter compared to the prior-year quarter as the 2023 IPL season started approximately one week later than the 2022 season.”

HBO’s licensing agreement with Hotstar expired recently. Viacom18 acquired HBO and Warner Bros. content after the entertainment giant withdrew its entire catalog from India.

Industry analysts expect Hotstar’s subscriber loss to rise to 7 million by year-end.

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