Disney Plus is coming to India on March 29 via Hotstar ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL) tournament. At The Walt Disney Company, Q1 2020 earnings call, Chairman and CEO Bob Iger stated that Disney Plus streaming service is going to make its way to India via Hotstar, kicking off the IPL 2020 season. The streaming service has gathered 26.5 million subscribers since its launch in November 2019.
Hotstar VIP and Premium subscription plans will be rebranded to Disney Plus Hotstar. Owned by Star India, which in turn is owned by Disney, Hotstar is known for setting world streaming records, the latest of which saw a record 25.3 million concurrent viewers during the semi-final of ICC Cricket World Cup.
“We’re also excited to announce that we will be launching Disney+ in India through our Hotstar service on March 29th 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,” Iger said.
“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,” he adds.
As you may have noticed, Disney Plus streaming service won’t have a separate app for India, and instead, Hotstar’s app will be revamped to feature original programming, movies, and TV shows from the house of mouse.
Hotstar is one of the most significant streaming players in India, with over 300 million subscribers, which is why Disney needs to integrate with an already established platform for faster adoption.
Without getting into the specifics, Iger mentioned that Disney is planning to bring two products when the streaming service launches in India. There will be a premium product that includes the entire Disney Plus Hotstar library, while the other one will only have the essentials, skipping out on original programming.
It could be possible that he’s talking about two subscription plans that will replace Hotstar’s VIP and Premium plans. “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 said.
According to our previous reports, Hotstar is also expected to double its subscription fees ahead of the IPL 2020 season. It could go up to $30 (~Rs 2,000) from $15 (Rs 999) for the annual subscription, making it the most expensive streaming service.
Currently, Hotstar offers exclusive sports coverage, special programs, movies, TV shows, broadcast channels, and license titles from 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, Showtime, HBO, and ABC Studios.
Disney Plus, on the other hand, has a vast collection of old and new titles from Walt Disney, Pixar, Lucasfilms, and Marvel Studios, with more original shows set to debut on the platform in 2020.