The remainder of the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will start from September 19 and this will attract many new subscribers, say experts in video streaming space.
Last year, the platform saw addition of around 7.5 million subscribers during IPL 13, according to estimates. The platform which had around 18.5 million subscribers in September saw its subscriber base increase to 24 million by end of the league.
This year, too, experts believe that the platform will continue to see similar growth in number of new subscribers in India.
IPL 14 to add more subscribers
"The pandemic has helped all SVOD (subscription video on-demand) platforms increase their paid subscriber base by about 30-50 percent over the last 1.5 years, because of higher adoption of streaming as a category on the whole," Shailesh Kapoor, CEO, Ormax Media, a media consulting firm, told Moneycontrol.
He added, "Because of IPL and multiple films under their Multiplex sub-brand, Disney+Hotstar has been one of the major beneficiaries of higher streaming adoption in India. In the Ormax OTT Audience Report 2021, it is estimated that India has 40.7 million paid OTT subscribers. Given that Disney+Hotstar is more than 30 million, it means that more than 75 percent of paid subscribers in India are already subscribing to Disney+Hotstar."
Valuation firm RBSA Advisors' MD and CEO, Rajeev R Shahand Mahendra Pamnani, Manager noted that the platform which currently has 35.1 million subscribers, in the fourth quarter of 2021, which will be a sports-heavy calendar for Disney+ Hotstar, along with local originals, will close the year with 46 million subscribers.
The platform already saw its average revenue per user (ARPU) increase from Q2 ending March, 2021 to Q3 ending June due to IPL 14 which took place between April 9 to May 4 this year.
According to Kapoor, IPL alone has added up to 15-20 percent to Disney+ Hotstar's paid subscriber base in the past.
"But now, the platform is much bigger with more than 30 million paid subscribers in India, and a few million more across the world. Hence, even a 10 percent growth per season is a good result given that the base is much bigger than it was in 2019-20," he added.
New price plans
But Disney+Hotstar changed its subscription plan and hiked prices of some its existing plans. So, will that impact new subscriber addition on the platform?
The platform which earlier offered a premium plans for Rs 1,499 per year (Rs 299/month) and VIP plan at Rs 399/year from September one started offering three new plans.
Now Disney+Hotstar offers three plans including Rs 499 per year for mobile, Rs 899 per year for Super and Rs 1,499 per year for Premium.
"More than a hike, Disney+Hotstar has restructured its offering into three plans now. Their pricing still remains low and competitive, and will not be a barrier for new subscriptions in any way."
Vaibhav Odhekar, Co-Founder of POKKT, a mobile video advertising platform concurs.
"Entertainment being a habit, which once you get hooked to a style of consuming content can't be reversed easily. Also, when you compare their prices to other popular players in the market Disney+Hotstar is still inexpensive with its yearly charges and different levels of subscription."
Nitin Menon, Co-founder of NV Capital, a credit fund for media and entertainment sector said, "Since IPL is one of the biggest sporting spectacle in India, it is unlikely that the hike will impact subscriber additions. Further that the T20 World Cup is around the corner, the buzz for this format will add to the subscriber base."