Disney, on 11th April, had announced that the much-rumored Disney+ will launch on November 19, 2019, as an OTT service. It will be a standalone service, just like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. It will stream original content from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, National Geographic, and 20th Century Fox. According to a report, Disney+ will be coming to India soon but won’t debut as a standalone OTT. Walt Disney will instead stream their original content via Hotstar. Walt Disney is the owner of Star India, Fox Star Studios and Hotstar, thus making it easier for them to choose Hotstar to stream the content.
Disney+ costs $7 (roughly ₹500) for a month but for Hotsar India users, they’ll be able to access Disney’s content at no extra cost, provided you are subscribed to Hotstar Premium or Hotstar VIP. This is another milestone for Hotstar, as it will help the OTT to go a step ahead of its rivals from Netflix and Amazon Prime.
The move also seems likely as Hotstar is known and provides a wallet-friendly subscription for Indian users, which will spare Disney the extra strategic planning and marketing. Another reason could also be the sheer number of users on Hotstar, which has over 300 million monthly active users in India, as of March 2019. For a monthly subscription, it costs ₹299 (recently increased from ₹199) and annually, users will have to shelve ₹999.
Disney India’s chairman Uday Shankar commented on Disney’s decision saying, “Hunger for content and ability to pay are unlocking growth for consumer payments in the video. India has become a magnet for all media and content companies.” The FICCI-EY media and entertainment industry report of 2019 established Hotstar as the number one content-streaming app in India based on its growth, revenue, and download.