The Walt Disney Company (Disney), which owns and operates the Indian streaming service Disney+ Hotstar, revealed its largest-ever fall in paying subscribers—a 6% drop—for the months of October through December.

The firm has already issued two warnings that Hotstar’s paid subscriber base would decline as a result of the loss of IPL streaming rights for the 2023–2027 media cycle. Disney reported that Hotstar had 57.5 million paid subscribers as of October-December, down from 61.3 million during the period of July-September.

Walt Disney has a September-to-October fiscal year. The business lost 1.6 million subscribers between July and September of 2021, bringing the total number of paying customers to 43.3 million. Due to the second wave of Covid-19, the IPL was suspended in May of that year.

Although Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand are among the Southeast Asian countries where Hotstar is available, India continues to be the country where the majority of its subscribers are found.

On Thursday, Disney CEO Bob Iger declared that streaming was his “No. 1 priority” after coming out of retirement to lead the firm in November 2022.

According to industry experts, Hotstar accounts for more than a third of Disney+’s entire paid subscriber base, which stood at 161.8 million for the December quarter. This, however, was less than the 164.2 million total paid members that Disney+ had reported for the September quarter, indicating a fall of 2.4 million users overall. This is the first decline Disney+ has ever acknowledged since the service’s introduction more than three years ago.

IPL games began on September 19, 2021, following their suspension during the pandemic, and they ended on October 15, 2021. According to Disney, the return of the Indian Premier League resulted in a fast surge of 2.6 million Hotstar subscribers between October and December 2021, bringing the paid user base to 45.9 million.

After losing the IPL streaming rights to Viacom18 for the 2023–27 cycle, Disney announced in August 2022 that it was decreasing the subscriber target for Disney+ Hotstar from 100 million to 80 million.

By the end of the company’s fiscal year in 2024, it expects to have 80 million paying subscribers to Disney+ Hotstar, bringing the total number of subscribers to Disney+ to between 215-245 million. This was less below the company’s original projection of 230-260 million paid subscribers.