Disney+ could lose 20 million subscribers after ceding cricket

About 50 million, more than one-third, of the worldwide subscribers come from Disney+ Hotstar, a product offered in India and other South Asian nations, and cricket has a been a big driver of that. The loss of cricket means the company may now have trouble reaching its goal of as many of as 260 million global Disney+ subscribers by 2024.
Walt Disneycould lose as many as 20 million of its Disney+ subscribers after being outbid for the streaming rights to Indian Premier League cricket matches this week.
The estimate, from Media Partners Asia, means the company may have trouble reaching its goal of as many of as 260 million global Disney+ subscribers by 2024, according to Vivek Couto, executive director of the research firm.
“IPL drives customer acquisition,” he said in an email. “It’s regarded as entertainment not just sports by Indian households – women and men.”
Few consumer products have been as successful as Disney+. The service, which offers unlimited Disney movies and TV shows, garnered 10 million subscribers on its first day in November 2019 and boasted nearly 138 million at last count. Chief executive officer Bob Chapek made a bold forecast in late 2020, predicting the company would triple its subscriber count in four years.
About 50 million, more than one-third, of the worldwide subscribers come from Disney+ Hotstar, a product offered in India and other South Asian nations, and cricket has a been a big driver of that.
For months investors have been debating whether the company will have to lower its forecast. The drumbeat began after a weak quarter last year and continued after Netflix Inc. reported its first subscriber loss in a decade in April. Disney shares are down 39% this year.
Read more on the auction results:
Disney, Reliance Bid $6.2 Billion to Beam India Cricket
Indian Cricket Costs Broadcasters More Than English Football
Disney lost the cricket bidding war to a group that includes Paramount Global and India’s Reliance Industries.
While Disney lost the streaming rights, it retained the rights for broadcast on traditional TV networks, agreeing to pay nearly $3 billion over five years to broadcast the games. The company has some 70 channels in India, distributed by cable and satellite TV operators. In a statement Tuesday Disney said it can still use those traditional channels to promote Disney+Hotstar.
“We made disciplined bids with a focus on long-term value,” the company said.
Subscribers to Disney+ Hotstar pay only 76 cents a month on average ...