Disney Could Lose Out On More Than Just IPL Streaming Rights

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Disney left the Indian Premier League’s media rights auction with the tournament’s TV rights for $3 billion, but its streaming service could still lose an estimated 20 million subscribers.

Viacom18, a joint venture between Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries, Paramount Global, and investment company Bodhi Tree Systems, snatched the streaming rights from Disney for $2.6 billion.

  • Disney’s Star India held all of IPL’s media rights from 2017 to 2022 as part of a $2.5 billion deal.
  • This year marked the first time the Board of Control for Cricket in India sold the broadcast and streaming rights individually.

Since Disney won’t be streaming any IPL matches, Media Partners Asia estimates Disney+ could lose as many as 20 million subscribers — nearly 15% of the company’s current 138 million. 

Of that total, around 50 million of those customers come from cricket-filled Disney+ Hotstar, which is offered in India and other countries in South Asia.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek didn’t seem too concerned in February about the potential of losing the bid. Hotstar subscribers only pay about 76 cents each month, totaling less than $500 million in annualized revenue.

“It’s not like we see that business evaporating if we don’t get it,” he said.

Remaining Rights

Viacom18 also won a nonexclusive package covering 98 select matches for $417 million and rights for the U.K., Australia, and South Africa. Times Internet reportedly won rights in the U.S., Middle East, and North Africa.

The rights fetched $6.2 billion altogether.

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