Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Disney Star registers highest ever viewers for World Cup final

The India-Australia match attracted over 51 crore TV viewers and 5.9 crore live viewers on digital streaming

Fazal Rahim
Published: Nov 24, 2023 12:16:22 PM IST
Updated: Nov 24, 2023 12:35:02 PM IST

Disney Star registers highest ever viewers for World Cup finalICC Cricket World Cup 2023 Final between India v Australia at Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad  Image: Smith Reuters/Andrew Boyers
The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup final between India and Australia was the most watched live event in India, with over 51 crore viewers on television and 5.9 crore live viewers on digital streaming. According to a statement released by Disney Star, the official broadcaster of the World Cup, the number of concurrent viewers on television reached 13 crore for the World Cup final.

According to the Broadcast Audience Research Council (Barc), the live TV broadcast of the World Cup garnered 422 billion minutes of TV watch time, making it the most watched ICC Men’s World Cup in the history of the tournament.

Disney Star, which had both TV broadcasting and digital streaming rights for the World Cup, stated that the final match broke the previous records of the network, which saw a peak concurrency of 8 crore on television and 5.3 crore on Disney+ Hotstar during the semi-final between India and New Zealand. “Disney Star is dedicated to paving the road for sports broadcast in India, and it has been extremely encouraging to see growth across both the linear and digital mediums, thereby increasing the fan base of cricket,” says K Madhavan, country manager and president of Disney Star India.

He adds that this is a testament to the uniqueness of the Indian market, where linear and digital continue to grow alongside each other: “This successful tournament has set the stage for a promising future in our association with the ICC.”

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To maximise viewership experience during this World Cup, Disney Star provided 11 feeds and broadcast the tournament in nine languages. The network has previously said that penetration in regional languages is crucial for its success during the World Cup. The company also experimented with MaxView, a 9*12 portrait mode for mobile viewers.

Although the World Cup has been a success for Disney Star, the road ahead does not seem so smooth for the company. It lost the IPL streaming rights to Reliance Industries last year, which paid $2.9 billion. Disney Star has retained rights to the ICC tournaments from 2024 to 2027, after paying around $3 billion, but it has only the digital streaming rights, as Zee Entertainment holds the TV broadcasting rights after a strategic deal between the two companies.