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Hotstar will likely be the only destination for streaming Indian cricket

Star India cements its dominance by retaining the worldwide rights to Indian cricket. Not only does Star India have the television rights to cricket in India, but also all digital rights. This, along with Indian Premier League (IPL) rights, makes Star India the owner of two of the most valuable broadcast rights in cricket. 

The IPL rights were bought in September 2017 at the price of Rs 16,347.5 crore and will stay in effect from 2018 to 2022. However worldwide rights to Indian cricket cost considerably less at Rs 6,138 crore and will remain with Star India from 2018 to 2023.

Strengthening their sports portfolio, they even paid Rs 12,320 crore for the broadcast right to ICC tournaments between 2015 to 2023.

The result of this licensing will probably be that Hotstar will be the only online streaming channel that will broadcast Indian cricket. Having monopoly over Indian cricket rights globally will put competitors like SonyLIV at a disadvantage. 

Sony Pictures Network currently holds the rights to IPL and had plans of launching their own channel named ‘Six’ had their bid won. 

Bennett Coleman and Co. Ltd. were also trying to attain rights, which would give streaming rights to channels like TV18 and Reliance. 

Since there were only three competitors in the field, it puts to rest rumors that the likes of Google, YuppTV and Facebook would be participating. Nonetheless, it can be speculated that the only reason their bids weren’t in is because they entered into agreements with the primary participants. 

Star has its own online platform, HotStar, so they’re unlikely to enter into any sort of a consortium with either Facebook or Google. 

The previous year, the BCCI board tried to sell broadcast and digital rights separately but the tender didn’t find any takers. The board had to eventually lower the base prices from Rs 3 crore to Rs 2 crore, which also didn’t find any bids. 

This news comes right after Walt Disney Company’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s film and entertainment business, which includes the Rs 10,000 crore media giant, Star India. According to reports on Business Today, Star’s asymmetric high stake in India will position it in a more assertive space than Disney India. 

Bob Iger, chairman, and CEO at Disney said, “India represents one of the most high-growth media businesses,” when speaking to TelevisionPost. He even expressed excitement about Hotstar stating, “They launched a product called Hotstar, which is an over-the-top (OTT) product that we are quite interested in, on top of their channel and more traditional business.”

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