Disney says 518 million Indian users watched cricket World Cup on TV By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Cricket – ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 – Final – India v Australia – Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad, India – November 19, 2023 India’s Jasprit Bumrah celebrates after taking the wicket of Australia’s Steve Smith REUTERS/Andrew Boyers/File Phot

BENGALURU (Reuters) – A record 518 million Indian viewers watched the recently concluded men’s cricket World Cup matches on Walt Disney-owned television channels during the 48-day event, the entertainment firm said on Thursday.

Disney had bought digital and streaming rights to show the International Cricket Council’s tournaments in India from 2024 to 2027 by paying around $3 billion.

Its Hotstar streaming app set a concurrent viewership record of 59 million during the final match of the World Cup, the company said in a statement.

The numbers offer some relief for the Burbank-headquartered entertainment giant’s India unit, which is exploring options of finding a joint venture partner or selling its business.

It has offered free streaming of World Cup cricket on smartphones in India, part of a strategy to boost advertising revenue and offset the impact of a subscriber exodus.

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