Disney Plus launched in November last year with a few technical issues in the beginning. Well, the latest update now is that the entertainment streaming channel is expected to arrive in India pretty soon on March 29. Reports state that it is expected to launch via Hotstar. In fact, it would be launching in Western Europe on March 24.
This development was confirmed by none other Disney chief executive officer Bob Iger during an earnings call with the financial analysts. According to his statement, the entertainment streaming service is being planned for a launch during the beginning of the IPL (Indian Premier League) cricket tournament. He was heard as saying during the call, “We’re also excited to announce that we will be launching Disney Plus in India through our Hotstar service on March 29, at the beginning of the Indian Premier League Cricket season. We will be rebranding our existing Hotstar VIP and Premium subscription tiers to Disney Plus Hotstar.”
Interestingly, during every season on the IPL, Hotstar is very much in demand by the people. Keeping this in mind, Disney has taken a call to bring its entertainment channel in India at a time when an important event telecasts on Hotstar. Also, going by the statistics, Disney Plus already has about 28.6 million paid subscribers.
Earlier, there were reports that Disney Plus would be arriving in India during the second half of the year post its entry into the Southeast Asian markets. In fact, towards the end of Q1, the company had plans of raising the subscription charges of Hotstar, which is a Star-owned India service. Hotstar is a part of Fox, that was acquired by Disney.
The previous year, Hotstar, on an average, had about 100 million active users on a daily basis when it was used at the highest. It also recorded about 300 million users on a monthly basis. At present, its premium is about $14 a year. It also showcases serials and movies from HBO, ABC, and Showtime. Along with all this, there is also an ad-supported free tier, which contained about 80% of the catalogue a couple of years ago.
As of now, Iger has not shared any specific information about the company’s charges of having Disney Plus as a part of Hotstar. However, he has made it quite clear that there would be “two primary products” entering the Indian market. Out of these, one is expected to be more premium in nature which would be inclusive of the complete library of original programming. The other one would be pretty basic, consisting only of the library without any original programming. Apparently, this is planned for a launch during the peak season of IPL in India.
Ider further added that “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.”
Hotstar has a lot of competitors in India that include Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Most of these streaming channels have telecast original series and films related to the Indian market. Hotstar features the original remake of “The Office.”
Earlier, Iger had also hinted that the company has plans of launching Disney Plus in Southeast Asia by means of Hotstar.
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