Disney+ Hotstar Calls the Toss With an Annual Subscription to Watch Live IPL 2020

Emerging OTT player Disney+ Hotstar went for a reverse sweep shot by announcing that users need an annual subscription to watch all live Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket matches. 

With the 13th edition of IPL kick-starting from September 19 in the UAE, there is a sigh of relief (of course, with the masks on!) among cricket enthusiasts waiting to witness their favourite cricketers in action.

Find the IPL 2020 Schedule here - Indian Premier League 2020

Even the common tagline "Coming soon to theatres near you" has been rephrased to "Coming soon to devices near you" synchronizing with the COVID situation. 

Even cricket at the international level has adapted to the new norm of hitting sixes into empty stands, scaring away the spectating flock of birds. 

After being caged for several months, this cricket extravaganza can be seen as an easy shortcut to entertainment and an escape into the world void of COVID click baits.

Breaking headlines once again was MS Dhoni announcing retirement from all forms of international cricket (The helicopter has finally landed!). Reminiscence of Ravi Shastri's commentary going, "Dhoni finishes it off in style!" is still imprinted in the hearts and minds of hard-core Dhoni patrons. 

They are now hoping and praying to see him in vintage as well as iconic action playing for his club Chennai Super Kings(CSK). Hence, even a large chunk of common folk are already looking forward to this year's IPL.

Indian OTT platforms have been prying people with exclusive digital-first movie releases (This trend started with Dil Bechara - Sushant Singh Rajput’s last film) to capitalize on the shutdown of theatres across India.

A recent survey by FLYX (social networking platform) has revealed a spike in new subscriptions with Amazon Prime leading the race followed by Netflix and then Hotstar. A genuine viewership has been created due to compelling content certified by escalating viewing hours. 

Let us see how Disney+ Hotstar has been planning to put on board a huge score of viewership for other OTT platforms to chase in the next innings.

1. Collaborations -

Subscription to Disney+ Hotstar VIP has been tied up with telecom operators like Jio and Airtel (farewell to the COVID awareness caller tune!). This way proves to be the quickest, cost-effective and easiest way for people to leap into the OTT dimension. 

Both Jio and Airtel will offer prepaid recharge plans bundled with a 12-months subscription to Disney+ Hotstar VIP. This also cuts the cost of marketing and advertising, making it easier for a new player to discover content. 

No matter who wins the toss, the match between OTTs and telecom services always end in a draw with both teams sharing the victory of market space.

2. Exciting and Innovative Updates and Features -

The new interactive Watch'N Play feature has been updated in the Hotstar app for the first time. The promotional campaign for IPL 2020 headlined by the hashtag #KoiYaarNahiFar has resonated well this year since it is highly unlikely for anyone to watch matches with friends. 

Watch'N Play feature creates an immersive stadium-like experience for fans who will be now able to join the live gameplay and interact with their friends virtually. 

Other features like ‘Hotshots’ selfies and 'Duets' lets fans create a customized version of jaw-dropping shots and reactions to match-winning moments.

3. Making Content Accessible -

OTTs exponentially grow and survive the stiff competition in the market by winning an audience with fresh content. The road to discovery of good content shouldn't require a guide, in this case via advertisements. 

With a calculated risk of audience rejection in mind, content updates require significant investment. 

User-friendly interface, agile navigation tools and intelligent search engines help content reach the customer quickly (Just like how Netflix prompts "Are you still watching?" when you have been binging all day!)

4. Flexible Pricing -

With a flourish of flexible pricing models, Disney+ Hotstar has packages such as VIP plan (₹399/year) and Premium plan (₹1499/year). 

Each having its perk of exclusive Hotstar specials and the latest episodes from Indian TV soaps (Still grooving to the #RasodeMeinKaunTha Rap?). In this way, it's easier to attract subscribers in markets with low credit card penetration. 

5. Time to Hit the Road -

With just a week away for the IPL fever to become infective, a bold call was made by Disney+ Hotstar to skyrocket its subscription count. 

This decision will make it easier to gauge the analytics of viewing hours and pipeline necessary changes adapting to the market. Sick of your DTH provider prompting 'No signal due to bad weather' even for a small drizzle, time to segue to catch all super over drama in your Hotstar app.

It’s finally time for some action, amidst the lockdown situation. Buckle up for some blockbuster cricket clashes! 

Written by - Deepan R

Edited by - Ivanova

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