ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 viewership so far on Hotstar is far from the IPL peak

Indian skipper Virat Kohli celebrates after winning the 14th match of 2019 World Cup against Australia at Kennington Oval in London on June 9, 2019. India won by 36 runs. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
  • The number of live online viewers at any point for the World Cup have been far below the peak registered by the recently concluded Indian Premier League (IPL).
  • The concurrent users on Hotstar for World Cup matches are between 2 million and 8 million compared to the peak of over 18 million during the IPL.
  • Hotstar, during IPL, alone had garnered an excess of 300 million unique users and was betting on bigger numbers from the World Cup.
  • According to reports, Indian businesses are reportedly spending ₹10-₹12 billion during the World Cup on advertising.
When India’s star batsmen like Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, and Rohit Sharma out-batted Australia at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, as many as 7 million people at any given point were watching it live on Hotstar, Walt Disney’s streaming platform with exclusive online streaming rights to the tournament.

During other matches – sometimes, even when India is bowling – the viewer numbers dropped significantly, to less than half of it. This outsized interest in team India is the source of the clout of BCCI (Board of Cricket Control in India) at the International Cricket Council (ICC). This was what Hasan Minhaj highlighted in his Netflix show, Patriot Act.

Both the ICC Cricket World Cup and the Indian Premier League (IPL) bring in billions in ad revenues and sponsorships, and millions in viewership. However, it seems like this edition of the World Cup is off to a slow start.

Star vs Hotstar

The opening World Cup match between England and South Africa clocked a reach of 114 million on television alone, according to a report. According to reports, from the last World Cup, the semi-final between India and Australia saw over 309 million impressions.

The data for the latest India versus Australia clash is not out yet. However, if online viewership on Hotstar in India is any sign, the number of live viewers online at any point has ranged anywhere between 2 million and 8 million in the matches so far.

This number did not even touch a quarter of IPL’s numbers. The IPL 2019 final between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians saw over 18 million concurrent viewers at one point. The IPL matches this year that ended in May saw a total reach of 462 million through television alone.

Hot on Hotstar

Hotstar, during IPL alone, had garnered an excess of 300 million unique users and also witnessed a 74% increase in watch-time as compared to last year.

And, it was hoping for more from the World Cup. “We aim to continue delivering an uninterrupted and immersive cricket watching experience not just to the domestic consumers, but to global audiences in the US and Canada as well,” Varun Narang, Chief Product Officer, Hotstar had then, said in a statement.

With the numbers on its side, the streaming platform had also announced Dream 11, Uber Eats, Amazon Pay and Coca Cola as the co-presenting sponsors this year, while the associate sponsors include Royal Challenge, Acko, CEAT, and ICICI Lombard.

Big ad spends

With such massive records being set in viewership, brands are obviously leveraging from the World Cup too. According to reports, indian businesses are reportedly spending ₹10-₹12 billion during the World Cup on advertising.

Obviously, the numbers are bigger for India matches alone. In an interview with Moneycontrol, MK Machaiah, President Content+, Mindshare, South Asia, said, “The cost for an India match is ₹2 million onwards for 10 seconds. Over ₹ 1 million lakh is for all match packages. The sponsorship package is ₹ 400 million onwards on television and digital sponsorship is over ₹150 million."

Cricket accounted for 93% of all sports viewership in India in 2018, according to a BARC India report. And, this was before the World Cup.

So far this year, the IPL has proved to be a bigger crowd puller than the World Cup, though there are still a few interesting games to follow, like the high-tension clash against Pakistan on Sunday (May 16). And as the tournament progresses, the interest level is likely to rise.

See Also:
Here’s why everyone is talking about Indian cricketer MS Dhoni’s gloves
India’s ‘men in blue’ turns orange in World Cup 2019, Here’s how the cricket jersey has changed from 1985 to 2015
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