The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 is set to bring a huge advantage for cricket fans. Unlike previous years, the matches will be available for free on JioCinema, which is expected to significantly boost viewership. Fans no longer have to subscribe to Disney Hotstar to watch the event, and advertisers anticipate a record-high viewership this year.
According to a Moneycontrol report, there will be a significant increase in IPL viewership to around 550 million, up from 2022’s 300 million. Similar trends were observed during the FIFA World Cup last year, demonstrating the potential of making sports events more accessible to a wider audience. In November 2022, JioCinema experienced a surge in users when the first match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup became available to stream for free. On the final day of the FIFA World Cup Final, 32 million viewers tuned in to JioCinema, making India one of the highest digital viewership markets for the event.
Meanwhile, three major multi-system operators (MSOs) in India – Hathway Cable & Datacom, DEN Networks, and GTPL Hathway – are threatening to remove Star Sports channels from their base packages ahead of the IPL. Reliance Industries, which holds the digital media rights for IPL, has a majority stake in DEN and Hathway and an indirect 28% stake in GTPL Hathway. GTPL Hathway has already indicated on its website that its base pack, the Power Lite Pack, will no longer include Star Sports channels from April 1, 2023. Distribution teams are currently negotiating with the MSOs.
Jio has launched new Cricket Plans for both new and existing users ahead of IPL 2023. These plans offer unlimited True-5G data for watching live matches in 4K across multiple screens, along with 3GB/day and free data vouchers for seamless streaming. The plans are designed for an immersive cricket experience.
The availability of free streaming of IPL 2023 matches on JioCinema is set to significantly increase viewership and make the event more accessible to a wider audience. The surge in users during the 2022 FIFA World Cup demonstrated the potential of such accessibility. Additionally, Jio’s new Cricket Plans for seamless streaming, coupled with the threat of MSOs removing Star Sports channels from their base packages, has created an exciting and competitive atmosphere leading up to IPL 2023.
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