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Front Office Sports: Disney+ is losing subscribers after missing out on Indian Premier League rights


lost streaming rights to the Indian Premier League earlier this year —and many of its subscribers could be leaving with it.

“We now expect the company to come in below its 230-260 million guidance with 213 million as Disney+ Hotstar (in India) drops down to roughly a third of subs (versus the 43% estimate previously,” MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson reported concerning the 2024 guidance.

The company added 7.9 million subscribers in its last quarter, totaling 137.7 million.

Not all is lost for Disney. Nathanson noted the company’s direct-to-consumer business will bring in a 2024 profit of $300 million — a substantial increase from the previously forecasted loss of $310 million

Nathanson says the increase is from “removing our estimated jump in IPL costs needed to secure the rights.”

Disney signed a $3 billion deal for exclusive IPL TV rights.

Price Hike

Star India, which Disney acquired in 2019, paid $2.2 billion for digital and TV rights from 2017-22. This was the first year media rights were split into separate packages. 

“We chose not to proceed with the digital rights given the price required to secure that package,” Rebecca Campbell, Disney’s chairman of international content and operation, said.

Viacom18, a joint venture between Reliance Industries, Paramount Global, and Bodhi Tree Systems, locked in the streaming rights from 2023-2027 for $2.6 billion.

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