Inevitably, as this is India, the record was set for a cricket match. Around 18.6 million viewers logged in to the Hotstar website and app to watch the decider of the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament.
The figure chalks up another record for the streaming company, breaking its own previous world record of 10.3 million simultaneous viewers, TechCrunch reported.
Hotstar, which rivals Netflix and Amazon in India, managed to pull in 10 million concurrent viewers multiple times during the 51-day IPL season this year. On one occasion more than 12.7 million cricket fans watched Royal Challengers Bangalore take on Mumbai Indians.
The company said the IPL series has already drawn a total of 267 million viewers this season, another record – last year’s series total was 202 million.
The numbers are truly extraordinary when compared, for example, to the most popular YouTube live broadcasts. The 2012 live stream of the skydiver Felix Baumgartner leaping to earth from the edge of space remains the most simultaneously viewed video on YouTube with a mere eight million concurrent views.
While Netflix and Amazon search for new content to attract mega audiences in India, Hotstar, through its local parent Star India, has kept its focus on the tried and tested – cricket. As a result, they have successfully secured the rights to a number of big cricket series.
Two years ago, Star India secured the rights to broadcast and stream the IPL for five years. That $2.5 billion bet now seems to be paying off. Last month, Hotstar revealed its service had built up 300 million active monthly users, a massive lift from the 150 million it reported the previous year.
This compares to estimates of fewer than 30 million subscribers apiece for Netflix and Amazon in the country.
Hotstar is now aiming to expand overseas, in particular to the US, Canada and, most recently, the UK. The focus is to pick up audiences – Indian and non-Indian – who are fans of Bollywood and cricket, Ipsita Dasgupta, president of Hotstar’s international operations, told TechCrunch.
Sourced from TechCrunch; additional content by WARC staff