Setting up a new benchmark for online viewership, Star India-run Hotstar hosted about 18.6 million concurrent viewers on its app during the final of the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings.
This is 8.6 million more than last year concurrent viewers 10 million logged onto the platform to watch the final fixture played between Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
This year during IPL, the OTT platform claimed to cross more than 10 million viewership many times. On March 28, Hotstar claimed to set a viewership record of 12.7 million during RCB Vs MI match.
For the first three weeks, Hotstar said to witness around 32% rise in viewership (267 million viewers) on its video-streaming app platform in compared to last year.
In 2018, about 202 million people watched the entire season of the tournament.
In April, during an investor meeting, Star India chairman Uday Shankar revealed that Hotstar has 300 MAU, out of this sports viewership contributes a 65 per cent share in India.
In September 2017, Star India had won the television and digital broadcasting rights for five years period for a massive $2.4 billion (Rs 16,348 crore). To engage more viewers on the platform, it introduced a live comments feature, which allows viewers to share their thoughts during the live match with friends.
It also backed the platform with huge investment (over $190 million) to beef up its bandwidth and infrastructure to handle concurrent viewership.
The spike in viewership on the platform is expected to go up in coming months with a month-a-half long World Cup 2019 to be kicked off in a fortnight time.
In India, Hotstar has been ruling the OTT space ever since its arrival in 2015.
It is way ahead of its rivals Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, who are said to have around 30 million subscribers in the country. Hotstar is reported to have around 7 lakh paid subscriptions till mid-July, according to corporate finance advisory Duff & Phelps. It aims to clock over 18 million subscribers by 2021.
In India, the OTT market is expected to reach $5 billion by 2023, as per BCG report.