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Disney+ Hotstar Eyeing Fewer Paid Indian Subs by 2024, Underscoring Impact of Cricket Rights Loss

The Indian streaming video platform Hotstar has helped Disney+ explode subscriber growth outside North America. Disney’s recent loss of the IPL professional cricket streaming rights in 2023 to Viacom18 — whose equity stake holder, Paramount Global, aims to exploit the loss when it launches the Paramount+ streaming platform in India next year — is now confirmed to impact Disney+ sub growth going forward.

Speaking on an Aug. 10 fiscal call, CFO Christine McCarthy said India’s continued outsized contribution to the Disney+ subscriber base would now translate into a projected Indian subscriber count of 80 million by the end of fiscal year 2024. That’s down from a previous projection around 100 million Indian Hotstar+ subs.

CFO Christine McCarthy

“We recently made the disciplined decision to not proceed with Indian Premier League digital rights, while evaluating the linear rights with the same discipline,” McCarthy said.

Hotstar added 13.5 million subscribers to Disney+ in the third quarter, due in large part to heightened consumer interest in the conclusion of the IPL in the quarter.

McCarthy said Disney aims to retain the linear rights to the IPL while exorcising the same fiscal discipline it did walking away from the SVOD rights.

“We intend to refine that target over time,” she said, remaining confident Disney+ will achieve profitability in fiscal-year 2024.

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