Hotstar, owned by Walt Disney Co, has decided to offer free streaming of cricket tournaments in India through mobile devices. This strategic move, similar to its top competitor JioCinema, is aimed at attracting a larger user base in the cricket-crazy country. In an announcement on Friday, Hotstar revealed that it will provide free access to the Asia Cup and ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup tournaments.
Earlier this year, Hotstar lost the streaming rights for the immensely popular Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament to JioCinema, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries. As a result, Hotstar’s subscriber base reportedly declined by around five million users, according to research firm CLSA.
JioCinema, which offered free viewing of the IPL matches, achieved a remarkable 1.47 billion digital views during the tournament’s opening weekend. While JioCinema plans to introduce charges for its content, it intends to continue offering free streaming of the IPL, as stated by Jyoti Deshpande, President of Reliance’s media and content business, in an interview with Bloomberg in April.