Hotstar, Disney-owned service (a lesser-known fact) which has earned popularity for itself and has set streaming records globally, is going to have a very busy next few months. Disney is planning to introduce its on-demand and popular streaming service Plus in India via Hotstar on March 29, a little early than expected, the company stated on Tuesday.
World’s largest entertainment Market
During an earnings call with analysts, Bob Iger, chief executive of Disney said the entertainment conglomerate is going launch the service in one of the world’s largest markets of entertainment at the starting of the next edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) which is a cricket tournament, the most conspicuous event on Hotstar all year. He also disclosed that Disney+ had gathered 26.5 million paying subscribers worldwide.
In November, TechCrunch reported that the company was planning to roll out its streaming service in India by the second half of the year, followed by its introduction to Southeast Asian markets. TechCrunch also reported that by end of the first quarter, the company was likely to increase the subscription fee of Hotstar service, a service that is owned by Star India and which it owns as part of its acquisition of Fox.
At its peak Hotstar, reported more than 100 million daily active users and 300 million monthly active users last year. Currently, the service offers its premium offering with a price of $14 a year; it also features shows and movies from HBO, ABC, and Showtime. It also provides an ad-supported free tier, which as of two years ago, included about 80% of the catalog.
Iger refused to share insights about how much the company is going to charge for Disney+ featuring Hotstar; however, it said it will fetch “two primary products” into India.
“Disney Plus Hotstar”
“One will be more premium in nature that will include the entire library of original programming and the other one will be more basic that will have the library and not the original programming priced for the market and launched at a very peak period for the IPL, the Cricket League,” he said.
“So we think it’s an opportune moment, we take advantage of the presence of Star in the market and the millions of subscribers that they also have, we take advantage of the sports tie-in and we use the interface and the technology that includes the billing that already exists to launch a service we believe under very, very optimal circumstances,” he added.
In India Hotstar contests with dozens of video streaming services, including its international rivals Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. In recent years, all of these services have crafted original series and movies for the Indian market. The most notable original series on Hotstar is the remake of “The Office.” The monthly subscription of Netflix starts from $2.8 (for mobile-only viewing), while Prime Video charges $14 a year. Apple TV+ costs $1.4 a month in India.
Iger said the company is going to rebrand the premium level of Hotstar to “Disney plus Hotstar.” “We see this as a great opportunity to use the proven platform of Hotstar to launch the new Disney+ service in one of the most populous countries and fastest-growing economies in the world.”
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