Disney+, the Walt Disney Company’s attempt to dominate the streaming market, seems to be heading just that way. In a first official confirmation of numbers from the company, Disney+ has announced that it has managed to amass a subscriber base of about 50 million paid users worldwide. More interestingly, 8 million out of this came from India, as subscribers of the newly launched Disney+ Hotstar.
Disney+ launched in India in collaboration with Hotstar, a streaming platform owned by Star India. Star India is a part of the 21st Century Fox group, the company which Disney acquired in 2019 for a staggering $71 billion, in what became one of the biggest media deals globally..
However, a lot of that 8 million needs to be credited to Hostar’s already strong presence in India. Before Disney+ even came into light, Hotstar was already a well established name in the Indian streaming market, with ‘reportedly over 300 million active users. However, up until now, its subscribers base had been kept a secret with no official numbers. Only after Disney+ launched in India did we get an actual figure for the streaming platform.
The Walt Disney company reports, “Disney+ became available last week in India, where it is offered in conjunction with the existing Hotstar service, and already accounts for approximately eight million of Disney+’s 50 million paid subscribers.”
However, even with such an impressive customer base, the expected revenue generated by Disney+ Hotstar is supposed to fade in comparison to Disney+’s revenue in other regions. Revenue per user will be even worse, due to the company’s extremely frugal pricing in India. The service costs just Rs. 1499 (about $20) annually, with a cheaper version available at Rs. 399 (about $5). In an industry that has really close margins, generating revenues to even cover costs can become exhausting.
However, this could be a part of the process of figuring out what pricing may work in India, where the average user is hesitant to invest in premium subscriptions.
In any scenario, amassing 8 million paid users from India is a feat largely unheard of. Most streaming services coming into India have tried hard to garner a financially significant user base, but have largely failed. Both Amazon’s Prime Video and Netflix have been struggling to amass significant paid userbase, despite having some of the biggest names in Bollywood doing multiple original shows for these platforms. From what we know last, Netflix had 2 million subscribers in India, despite multiple custom-made plans for the market.
Disney+, which launched only 5 months ago, has managed to gain 50 million subscribers thanks to well established franchises. The platform, which houses powerful brands like Marvel and Star Wars, offers commercial-free programming with a variety of original feature-length films, documentaries, live-action and animated series and short-form content. With newer arrivals from Marvel like ‘Loki’ and ‘Wanda and Vision’ ready to launch in some while, the numbers are only expected to grow.
Moreover, Disney+ launched in several new locations like UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria and Switzerland just a couple weeks back. New users in these areas are bound to have an effect on the platform’s presence in the streaming market, helping the numbers reach even greater heights.