September 20, 2021 05:47 PM
The second leg of the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) opened with the fancied faceoff between Mumbai Indians (MI) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK), which always records high viewership, but the response was relatively tepid on Disney+Hotstar.
While viewership did increase as CSK accelerated after a slow start, it did not surpass the opening-match numbers in the first half of IPL 14 which took place on April 9.
The opening match between MI and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) recorded a peak viewership of 6.7 million in the first half of IPL 14, whereas the match between MI and CSK in the second half of IPL 14 saw a peak viewership of 5.3 million.
The MI versus CSK match started with 1.5 million viewership on Disney+Hotstar which increased to 3.2 million after the third ball. By the second over, the viewership on the streaming platform went up to 4.4 million.
However, after the second over, viewership dropped and saw a slight increase only in the fourth over when it went up to 4.5 million.
With batsmen Ruturaj Gaikwad and all-rounder Dwayne Bravo hitting sixes in the last two overs, the viewership rose and touched a peak of 5.3 million.
But the remainder of the match hovered in the range of 4.2 million to 4.9 million viewership on Disney+Hotstar.
According to experts tracking IPL’s viewership on the digital platform, the drop is due to the COVID-19 impact which has made TV the primary screen.
Even during IPL 13 the average ranged between four to six million in terms of concurrent viewership throughout the league.
Experts said the primary audience for OTT watching was the on-the-go audience. In the current work-from-home scenario, viewers are largely at home. They prefer to watch cricket on TV rather than on the mobile. That is the primary reason viewership numbers are tepid.
While viewership on Disney+Hotstar has seen a drop since 2020, over the years, the streaming platform has attracted many viewers during the league and has to its name big viewership records.
During the 12th edition, the match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians registered a concurrency of 12.7 million viewers, which was later broken by the final.
IPL season 12’s final match saw as many as 18 million viewers tuning into Disney+Hotstar.
Also, despite the tepid performance of IPL 13 in terms of viewership on Disney+Hotstar, the platform added around 7.5 million subscribers. And it is expected that the platform will see a similar number of paid user additions during IPL 14.
It is expected that the platform will close the year with 46 million subscribers from 35.1 million subscribers Disney+Hotstar has currently.