Hotstar, India’s largest premium streaming platform, said 15.6 million (1.6 cr) people used its video streaming app at the same time on June 16, when India played Pakistan in the ICC World Cup in England. In all, 10 cr people logged into the service some time during that day.
This is a record for the platform.
It had earlier seen 8.26 million simultaneous users in May 2018 for a match between IPL teams Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings.
Despite the big number, Hotstar’s performance on June 16 is unlikely to win it the crown of the streaming champion of India. That title belongs to Youtube, which has close to three times as many users as Hotstar in India.
However, two factors are helping Hotstar rapidly close its gap with the No.1.
First, Star India, which owns Hotstar, has made its sports channels much more difficult to access on TV over the last three months.
While Star Sports was almost ubiquitous on cable TV till February this year, today, trying to watch all of Star’s HD sports channels on TV would add at least Rs 100 to your monthly cable bill.
Compared to this, a full-year’s subscription to Hotstar’s VIP pack — which includes all sports content — costs only Rs 365 per year.
This has given a big boost to Hotstar adoption in a country where cricket is almost a religion.
The second reason is the drastic crash in broadband prices and its equally spectacular spread across the country due to the introduction of 4G technology.
Watching a full, one-day international cricket match using a 4G data plan today costs only around Rs 5.50 in data charges, while it would have cost Rs 500 before 4G was introduced by Reliance Jio.
CLOSING THE GAP
Hotstar, backed by content from the world’s biggest TV network Walt Disney, is already No.2 in India, after Youtube.
While Youtube is estimated to have around 280 million (28 cr) monthly active users in India, the ongoing cricket World Cup has helped Hotstar cross the 100 million users on that particular day. The monthly active user number is not available for Hotstar.
Moreover, unlike Youtube, a large chunk of Hotstar users tend to be paying users.
Hotstar said 66% of its 100 million (10 cr) monthly active users come from outside the metropolitan cities of India.
It is streaming the World Cup in six languages – English, Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada.
It has also enabled a ‘social watching’ experience this time by enabling real-time chatting feature.
Hotstar can be accessed via the web, and on apps on platforms like Android Mobile, iOS, Roku TV, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Android TV, and Samsung Smart TV.
Besides Youtube, the platform competes with Amazon’s Prime Video and Netflix, as well as local competitors like Jio Cinema, Airtel TV, Idea TV, ALT Balaji, MX Player and so on.