Biggest IPL ever sees 383 billion minutes watched in major boost for Disney in India

The 2020 iteration of the Indian Premier League attracted record audiences and a significant boost for Disney-owned Star India.

The competition, which had been delayed twice, was hosted as a special edition in the United Arab Emirates over a two month period which wrapped up last week.

According to figures released by the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), figures were up 24% year-over-year to reach a cumulative total of 383 billion minutes watched.

As previously revealed, the opening match of the season attracted 200 million viewers, making it the “highest ever opening day viewership for any sporting league in any country,” according to Board of Control for Cricket (BBCI) secretary Jay Shah. That figure was just from Star’s broadcast channel, with it being estimated that millions more watched the tournament through Disney+ Hotstar.

Disney+ Hotstar was initially set to launch in India in March to coincide with the league’s initially-set kick-off date, but was delayed to April 3 when the IPL was postponed.

Disney has not stated how much it has made from the advertising, but Media Partners Asia estimated that ad sales rose by 10% year-over-year to more than US$400 million. The firm estimates that Disney+ Hotstar will reach 25 million subscribers in India by the end of 2020, giving it a major advantage over the likes of Netflix and Amazon which have struggled to break into the market.

Analysts have speculated that Amazon could make a bid for the IPL at the end of the current Star rights deal in 2023.

Disney’s APAC president Uday Shankar told the FT that the 2020 iteration of the competition was “probably the most successful IPL tournament ever,” and described the appetite from advertisers and viewers alike as “absolutely astounding.”

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