Fox's Star India Sets Digital Viewership Records With Cricket World Cup

Associated Press

India is witnessing robust digital growth as the recently concluded tournament clocked huge numbers for the network.

It's no news that Indians are crazy for cricket. But this year's Cricket World Cup, which wrapped on March 29, set global digital viewership records.

21st Century Fox's Star Sports channels, which carried the event exclusively, clocked a total of 340 million video views on its digital platforms. According to Fox, that makes it the most-viewed sporting event ever on digital. Star recorded some 50 million video views for the semi-final clash between India and Australia, what it said is the biggest-ever online audience for a single event for any broadcaster anywhere in the world.

Australia won the World Cup for the fifth time, beating New Zealand in the finals.

Star said its digital platforms registered a record 87 million unique users, the highest aggregation of users ever for a sporting event on digital.

Star's hotstar video on demand (VOD) platform, which carried World Cup matches, launched on Feb. 1 and has seen impressive pick-up, with more than 12 million people downloading the ad-funded app in its first month.

The online video business is booming in India. A recent entertainment industry report by consultants KPMG India and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), said India currently has more than 240 million Internet users, compared to 279 million in the U.S. and 640 million in China. 

According to the report, India's Internet users are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 18 percent from 2014-2019. By contrast, the country's TV viewership — at 825 million viewers — is estimated to grow by about 3 percent over the same period.

India is also the world’s fastest-growing market for smartphones, with about 116 million Internet-enabled smartphone users in 2014; this number is expected to hit 435 million by 2019.

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