The fans will have to spend a fortune if they wish to watch the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) on digital platforms. Unlike the previous editions, IPL 2020 will not be streamed on Disney+Hotstar VIP, according to a report in SportzFront.
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. As a result, the fans will 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 decision to move IPL streaming to premium account will see a 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 final between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings had seen a 18.6 million peak concurrent audience which 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.
The thirteenth edition of the IPL is scheduled to be played entirely in UAE. IPL 2020 will get underway on September 19 while the final is scheduled to take place on November 10.