Disney recently debuted its Disney+ platform, adding yet another service in the crowded online streaming segment to take on the likes of Netflix, Prime Video among others. And now, the company has set its sights on the super lucrative India market, confirming that it is all set to launch its service in India come March.
However, instead of directly giving access to Disney+ platform, the company will offer its on-demand streaming service through Hotstar from 29th March. Hotstar is a Disney-owned streaming service, which has uncomparable streaming market domination in India. The likes of Netflix and Prime Video have continued to struggle in gaining market share while Hotstar continues to set up new streaming records.
The launch date is earlier that the expected launch in the second half of this year.
Interestingly, the launch of Disney+ in India coincides with the start of the IPL cricket season in India. Hotstar has exclusive streaming rights to IPL, which its parent Star bought a couple of years back in a record broadcast package worth over $2 Billion. Star India had outbid the likes of Facebook and Twitter in an intense bidding war. IPL is the same league where Hotstar created the record for most concurrent viewers on a streaming platform globally, only to break its own record during last year’s cricket world cup. IPL in itself is a mega cricket showdown, with the league catapulting to one among the top 10 most valuable sports leagues globally, within a short span of just over a decade.
The Indian market could be the largest that Disney+ launches in this year. Hotstar had reported more than 100 million daily active users and 300 million monthly active users last year.
Hotstar is currently priced at about $14 per year in India. Apart from several of the Star Network’s show, the service is also offering premium shows and movies from HBO, ABC, and Showtime.
Recently, in an earnings call, the company said that Disney+ now has 28.6 million paid subscribers, up from the 10 million sign-ups at the launch of the service in November.
There are reports making rounds claiming that Hotstar plans to increase the subscription fees in India. It will happen towards the end of Q1 2020 and before IPL begins. While not confirmed, reports indicate that the subscription prices could be doubled.