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Disney+ Could Shed 20 Million Subscribers After Losing Cricket

At least 20 million Disney+ subscribers are at risk after the company was outbid for the streaming rights to the Indian Premier League cricket.

This is according to Media Partners Asia, who warn this loss could also see Disney miss its goal of 260 million subscribers by 2024.

“IPL drives customer acquisition,” Vivek Couto, executive director of the research firm. said of the loss

“It’s regarded as entertainment not just sports by Indian households – women and men.”

Of Disney’s current 138 million subscribers, over 50 million come from Disney+ Hotstar, the version offered in India and other South Asian nations. The cricket rights were key in this large uptake.

From a financial point of view, it made sense to lose the rights. Despite the large uptake, subscribers to Disney+ Hotstar pay just 76 cents a month (USD), compared to US$8 for American subscribers. This amounts to less than US$500 million a year.

Disney retained the broadcast rights for the IPL, paying close to US$3 billion for five years to broadcast the games on its 70 channels distributed by cable and satellite TV operators in India.

“We made disciplined bids with a focus on long-term value,” Disney said.

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