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How and When Disney+ Will Land in India


Dec. 4 2019, Published 7:39 a.m. ET

Walt Disney (DIS) plans to introduce its Disney+ video service in India next year, TechCrunch reports. Unlike in the US, where Disney+ is a standalone service, in India, it will be offered as part of Hotstar. By subscriber count, Hotstar is the leading subscription video streaming service in India. Therefore, rolling out on Hotstar’s platform could help accelerate the uptake of Disney+ in India.

Hotstar is part of Disney’s media empire. Disney came to own Hotstar through its $71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets, which included Hotstar parent Star India. The plans for Disney+ arriving on Hotstar in India come just as Hotstar is rolling out globally.

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India presents huge growth opportunity for Disney+

India’s video streaming market is one of the world’s fastest-growing, making it a strategic market for Disney+. By 2024, Disney+ aims to have 60 million–90 million subscribers. Therefore, India, with a population of 1.3 billion people and 627 million Internet users, is a great place to be for Disney+.

Several other foreign video streaming services have launched in India, including Netflix and Amazon’s Prime Video service. India’s video streaming market presents a $5.0 billion revenue opportunity.

Disney+ enters five countries as Netflix serves over 190 countries

The exact date Disney+ will arrive in India next year is unknown. The service first launched in the US, Canada, and the Netherlands on November 12. It entered Australia and New Zealand a week later. The next phase of the rollout will be mostly in Europe, with its UK launch set for March 2020. Disney+ will likely enter India after March. While Disney+ has only entered five countries, its main rival, Netflix, is present in more than 190 countries.

Disney leans on Disney+ to fuel growth in the era of cord-cutting

Disney is treating Disney+ as its most important product in 15 years. The company counts on such new products to fuel its growth as the traditional pay-TV market shrinks because of cord-cutting. In the September quarter, Disney’s revenue rose 34% YoY (year-over-year) to $19.1 billion, beating analysts’ estimate of $19 billion. Disney’s revenue missed analysts’ estimate in the June quarter.

Meanwhile, Netflix’s revenue jumped 31% YoY to $5.2 billion in the September quarter, slighting missing analysts’ estimate of $5.3 billion. While cord-cutting hurts traditional pay-TV operators and content providers, Netflix and other video streaming services benefit from cord-cutting. However, Netflix’s subscriber growth has come under pressure recently amid escalating competition.


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