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In a strategic move aimed at challenging the dominance of Reliance’s JioCinema, Disney’s Hotstar has recently announced its plans to provide free live streaming of cricket tournaments to mobile users in India. This decision comes shortly after JioCinema surpassed Hotstar’s previous record for concurrent viewership during the thrilling finale of the 16th edition of the Indian Cricket League (IPL), attracting an astounding 32 million simultaneous viewers. JioCinema’s success can be attributed to its innovative approach of offering free cricket streaming to its users.

In an effort to expand the overall ecosystem and capitalize on the cricket frenzy in the country, Disney+ Hotstar has decided to remove the paywall for two highly anticipated cricket tournaments: the Asia Cup and the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup. This means that all mobile viewers in India will have the opportunity to enjoy these high-profile tournaments for free, thanks to Hotstar’s initiative. By making such premium cricket content accessible to a wider audience, Hotstar aims to not only attract new viewers but also reignite the passion of existing users.

The streaming landscape in India witnessed a significant shift when the streaming rights for IPL matches moved from Hotstar to JioCinema last year, resulting in a notable impact on Hotstar’s subscriber base. The company reported a loss of 8.4 million subscribers since October, with a particularly steep drop of 4.6 million subscribers in the quarter that ended in March, as per Disney’s recent earnings report. This decline in subscriber numbers also had a direct impact on the average revenue per subscriber, which decreased from 74 cents to 59 cents in the March quarter. These figures highlight the challenges Hotstar has faced in retaining its market share in India, where it boasts approximately 53 million subscribers.

Meanwhile, JioCinema has been diligently fortifying its streaming platform by forging partnerships with major international entertainment giants such as Warner Bros. and NBCUniversal. These collaborations have allowed JioCinema to expand its content catalog and offer a diverse range of entertainment options to its users. Although JioCinema recently introduced a premium plan for international content, the platform has not yet revealed its plans to offer cricket streaming as part of its paid tier.

Hotstar’s decision to offer free mobile cricket streaming is a strategic move aimed at recapturing viewership from JioCinema and reclaiming its position as the go-to platform for cricket enthusiasts in India. By removing the paywall for these prominent cricket tournaments, Hotstar aims to entice users back to its platform while also appealing to new viewers who are drawn to the allure of free live streaming. Furthermore, this initiative presents an opportunity for Hotstar to generate revenue through local advertisements, capitalizing on the large viewership that cricket attracts in the country.

Disney’s Hotstar is determined to reclaim its dominance in the Indian streaming market by offering free mobile cricket streaming, pitting itself against the formidable competition posed by Reliance’s JioCinema. Through this strategic maneuver, Hotstar aims to attract a larger audience, revitalize its platform, and secure its position as the premier destination for cricket streaming in India.