Star India's streaming video service Hotstar set a new world record for online streaming on May 22 with 8.26 million concurrent viewers watching an Indian Premier League cricket match, according to data from CDN provider Akamai. The previous record for simultaneous streaming viewers is believed to have been held by YouTube, during Felix Baumgartner’s space jump in 2012. The space jump saw a peak viewership of just over eight million concurrent viewers tuning in.
On May 22, 8.26 million peak concurrent viewers tuning in simultaneously as Hotstar streamed a cricket match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings in this season’s Vivo Indian Premier league. Over the four hours duration of the match, more than 26 million users watched the game on Hotstar. This is the fifth year that Hotstar has streamed the Vivo IPL 2018 tournament which ended with the final this part Sunday.
In an indication of the rapid growth of streaming users for the VOD service, the opening week of Vivo IPL 2018 saw simultaneous viewership peaks of 5.5 million recorded on April, 10 followed by a peak of 7.1 million on April 25. Last year Hotstar recorded the highest peak viewers in APAC by recording a peak viewership of 4.8 million simultaneous viewers during the India-Pakistan ICC Champions’ Trophy final cricket match.
Earlier this month, Star India's parent Twenty-First Century Fox announced plans invest $50 million in Hotstar after seeing strong reach and an increase in viewers for IPL cricket. Speaking on 21st Century Fox’s third quarter earnings call, CEO James Murdoch said Star India will invest about US$50 million in Hotstar, which he said has now extended its reach to over 140 million people. “As we proved with the IPL (Indian Premier League cricket) leveraging standout sports with strategy, we’ve demonstrated time and again that it can drive strong returns for the business,” said Murdoch.
Parimal Pandya, vice president, media, APJ, Akamai Technologies, said: “Over the past year and a half, Hotstar has broken several online viewing records at the regional level. A contributing factor was technology from Akamai playing a role in bringing down the latency drastically so users can enjoy the live action almost as well as people watching it on their television. This is a clear indicator of the fact that, driven by technology from Akamai, live sporting action can be enjoyed on a smartphone which is the new frontier for audience engagement and growth.”
Ajit Mohan, CEO, Hotstar said: “Four years ago, when we started streaming IPL, eight million viewers would have been a big deal for the whole tournament. Crossing eight million simultaneous users is a testimony to the power of Vivo IPL and evidence of the abiding passion of cricket fans. It is not just about the scale, however. It is about reinventing the sports experience online and constantly raising the bar. Our objective is to create the future of social TV. And we are proud that the tech that we are building is expanding the frontiers of online video.”