Disney+ Hotstar crosses 26mn paid subscriber mark; accounts for 30% of Disney+'s base

Disney also plans to expand Disney+ Hotstar to more markets. The service is currently available in India and Indonesia

e4m by Javed Farooqui
Published: Dec 11, 2020 8:54 AM  | 5 min read
disney hotstar

Star India's video streaming service Disney+ Hotstar has crossed 26 million paid subscriber base as of December 2, 2020. The platform now comprises 30% of Disney+'s 86.8 million subscriber base.

This is a rapid jump from the 18.5 million paid subscriber base that Disney+ Hotstar had as of September. The platform has added roughly 7.5 million paid subscribers in two months. The strong subscriber acquisition is driven by the Indian Premier League (IPL) which was held from September 19–November 10, 2020.

Disney also plans to expand Disney+ Hotstar to more markets. The service is currently available in India and Indonesia.

Of the 86.8 million Disney+ subscribers, about 30% (or 24 million) are via Disney Plus Hotstar in India, said Disney International Operations and Direct-to-Consumer segment chairman Rebecca Campbell during her presentation at the company's annual Investor Day event.

"With a rapidly growing middle class, India is a promising market opportunity and we are uniquely positioned to succeed in the country due to our existing presence with Star TV and Hotstar," said Campbell.

She further stated that Disney+ Hotstar currently offers content in seven Indian languages and is adding about 17,000 hours of original local programming every year.

"This strategy is our template for other South Asian markets that are also driven by local content and mobile consumption, with Indonesia being the first market," Campbell said.

Disney Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy said that Disney+ Hotstar is expected to contribute 30-40% of its projected paid subscriber base of 230-260 million by 2024. It also expects to become profitable in the same year.

During the Q4 earnings conference call, Disney had stated that the Disney+ Hotstar subscribers accounted for a little over a quarter of its global base of 73.7 million paid subscribers. Disney+ Hotstar had generated an average revenue of $2.19 per user in India in the September-ended quarter, the company disclosed last month.

"Disney+ ended Q4 with 73.7 million paid subscribers, or an increase of over 16 million subscribers versus Q3. Disney+ Hotstar subscriber additions were the largest contributor to this increase, driven by the start of the delayed IPL season. Disney+ Hotstar subscribers now account for a little over a quarter of our global subscriber base," Christine McCarthy had said.

The Walt Disney Company today also revealed the ambitious next steps in its global streaming expansion at its 2020 Investor Day, with new details on the future of its direct-to-consumer services Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+, the first look at its upcoming international general entertainment content brand, Star, and previews of an exceptional slate of all-new content.

The company announced that, as of December 2, its portfolio of direct-to-consumer services has exceeded a total of 137 million global paid subscriptions, including 11.5 million ESPN+ subscribers, 38.8 million Hulu subscribers, and a staggering 86.8 million Disney+ subscribers since its launch in November 2019.

The company shared guidance that it now expects its streaming services to hit 300-350 million total subscriptions by fiscal 2024, driven primarily by a significant increase in content output. Disney+ alone is targeting to release more than 100 titles per year.

Building on the successful launch of Disney+ Hotstar in India and Indonesia, Disney shared new details for its international general entertainment content brand, Star, which will be included as part of Disney+ in select international markets, and launch as a separate streaming service in Latin America as Star+.

The Star brand will serve as home to thousands of hours of television and movies from Disney’s creative studios, including Disney Television Studios, FX, 20th Century Studios, 20th Television, and more, enhanced by the addition of local programming from the regions where available.

Star will launch in Europe and several other international markets on February 23, 2021, as a fully integrated part of Disney+, with its own branded tile and a new collection of renowned general entertainment series, movies, documentaries, and more that will double the content catalog available to Disney+ subscribers.

Disney+ will be updated globally to offer enhanced parental controls enabling the family-friendly experience parents expect, including the ability to set limits on access to content for specific profiles based on content ratings and the ability to add a PIN to lock profiles with access to mature content.

In Europe, the service will be priced at €8.99 per month or €89.99 per year, with a similar pricing adjustment in the other Star launch markets, including Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. The streaming service will continue its global rollout, now with Star, in new markets beginning with Singapore on February 23, 2021, followed by Eastern Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea later in 2021.

In Latin America, to take advantage of the region’s portfolio of live sporting events, the company will launch Star+ as a standalone streaming service. Star+ brings together an unrivaled Star content collection, local original productions, and an array of live sports from ESPN, including top soccer leagues, grand slam tennis, and more.

Star+ will launch in June 2021 as a stand-alone service for $7.50 per month (or the local equivalent), or as part of an attractively priced bundle with Disney+ for $9.00 per month (or the local equivalent).

The company also revealed its original content slate over the next few years. Disney+ plans to release approximately 10 Star Wars series and 10 Marvel series, as well as 15 Disney live-action, Disney Animation, and Pixar series, as well as 15 Disney live-action, Disney Animation, and Pixar features — all in addition to the premium content set to premiere in theatres or on linear channels before coming to the streaming service.

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