Will Disney+ up the content game among OTT platforms in India?

Experts believe that while certain players will be affected by the launch of Disney+ in India, the platform will draw a mainly premium audience

e4m by Sonam Saini
Updated: Nov 20, 2019 10:50 AM

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Disney Plus

Disney’s announcement of entering into the video-on-demand streaming service with Disney+ has not only triggered concerns among global players but in India as well. Although there is no official communication on how Disney will roll out it's streaming services in India, reportedly the service will be launched via Hotstar, which is now owned by The Walt Disney Company.

Recently, Disney+ was launched in the US market at a subscription priced at $6.99 per month. According to media reports, the platform is planning to launch its service in India in May next year. Currently, there are over 32 OTT platforms in India and the recent launch of Disney+ is expected to up the game for others in terms of content and quality. The new on-demand streaming service will bring iconic TV shows and movies from Disney's other subsidiaries including Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic and others.

“We have fast come to the point of excessive options in the OTT space both globally and locally,” said Varun Duggirala, Content Chief & Co-founder of The Glitch. But Disney+ is unique because of that their vast inventory of content as well as the newer content they are creating. It will be a must-subscribe for all premium consumers, both from a family viewing perspective as well as fan-dom viewing (Marvel, Star Wars, etc) perspective.

Duggirala further shared, “From the Indian context a lot of this will help build a larger base for the premium English entertainment-focused Indian consumer for Hotstar and while that number might seem low compared to the mass market audience, it is a premium consumer segment and will definitely enable more subscription revenue for the platform”.

Experts also believe that with so much content being available on one platform, this will give Hotstar an advantage to attract Disney's fan following to the platform.

“If the industry is closely guarded and a new player comes in, it obviously creates tremors in the industry,” pointed out Shrenik Gandhi, Co-founder and CEO, White Rivers Media. “The content and quality game will become stronger. Hotstar is the one who will gain in this game since Marvel and Disney fans will flock to Hotstar, that's the advantage they will enjoy. They will get a chunk of consumers who are willing to spend on quality, therefore this will be about quality and not of a price war”. The OTT game has got a lot more interesting,” shared Gandhi.

According to media experts, Disney+ will be looking at the niche - the premium audience with higher disposable income. But does that mean that the launch of Disney+ will only impact the international players and not the Indian ones?

On condition of anonymity, a senior media expert said, “Since Disney + will target the premium subscriber, it will not have much impact on players such as ALT Balaji, SonyLiv or even Amazon Prime for that matter, as these platforms are targeting the mass markets. Though it will spur the competition among all players to grab the consumer's eyeballs, it is likely to impact players such as Netflix.”

Another senior media analyst said, “Platforms which don’t have good quality content need to worry with the entrant of new players. In this industry, the customer acquisition cost is so high today that you have to keep on marketing to acquire customers. So the best way to live is to have great content.”

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