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IPL 9 followership on Hotstar crosses 100 million

MUMBAI: Star India’s video streaming platformHotstar has claimed that the ninth season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and its associated properties have crossed the 100-million mark in terms of followership during April–May. This marked a 143% increase from the 41 million users who had watched the IPL on Hotstar in 2015.

IPLThe dramatic growth in viewership was driven by a surge in the number of cricket fans from the top metros and cities, where access to mobile broadband on Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G had seen a surge over the last two years, Hotstar said.

More than 80% of IPL viewers on Hotstar were below the age of 35, with most of them representing an audience demographic that is deeply coveted by advertisers and not generally found on television: users in their mid-20s, who have the aspiration and willingness to experiment with the exploding array of new products and services available in the cities.

Among the affluent cricket fans over the age of 15 from socio-economic classes A and B who live in the six largest cities in the country, Hotstar has emerged as the primary screen with more viewers watching the tournament on Hotstar than on TV.

The platform also saw a surge in fan engagement on social media with overall interactions exploding from 228 million in 2014 when streaming debuted on starsports.com to more than 4.5 billion this year on Hotstar.

These interactions measured fans’ engagement with the IPL on the platform, including page views, video views and engagement with the custom sports notification service beyond match streams. Hotstar also entered into exclusive partnerships with UC Browser, Hike and CM Browser to allow their users to have easy access to video clips on Hotstar.

Ajit MohanWhen asked to comment on these milestones, Hotstar CEO Ajit Mohan said, “These numbers indicate a big shift in consumer behaviour. Cricket fans have firmly moved beyond just following scores and text commentary on the web to watching video on the mobile and deeply engaging with video services. I believe that we owe our success to three things. One, we have created a cricket (and sports) experience that is interactive and complete. Whether watching the match, or following the high points, or tuning in to our pre- and post-match shows or following the IPL franchisees with our special access to the teams, Hotstar is delivering an experience for fans that is not just convenient but is distinct from linear broadcasting.

“Second, we are continuously investing in technology and user experience to ensure that fans have access to a high-quality experience even though data networks can often be patchy, even in the large cities. Lastly, as a network, we have really been thoughtful in making sure that we build the IPL for a young urban audience, both with our service and with our communication. The milestones are a testimony to our ability to grow the tournament’s affinity in urban India.”

IPL 9 had seen seven sponsors, namely Flipkart, Raymond, Axe Deo, Airtel, Nestle, Amity University and Volini signing up with Hotstar.