The long-awaited arrival of the OTT platform Disney+ in India is now official. It will commence streaming from March 29, 2020. It will be housed within the Hotstar app already a popular OTT offering in the country. The app itself is being rebranded as Disney Plus Hotstar.
The announcement on this was made during an earnings call by Robert Iger, CEO of Disney. Besides India, Disney+ will make its appearance in several markets including UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Austria at around the same time. Disney+ can be watched in the US, Canada and the Netherlands already.
Hotstar enjoys a large subscriber base, mainly due to the live sports channels it offers on the app. Its subscription of Rs 365 per year is seen as a reasonable level. There’s a premium service at Rs 999 per year which includes the English content as well. The expectation is that the access to the Disney+ content on the Disney Plus Hotstar may be limited to only the Premium subscribers and the VIP customers who pay Rs 365 a year may not be given access to the Disney+ content.
Amazon Prime Video which also charges Rs 999 per year is going to be a major competitor if Disney wants to add to the base already enjoyed by Hotstar.
Netflix charges a much higher Rs 499 per month as the subscription. Netflix has a mobile only app that can be subscribed to at Rs 199 per month. The OTT platform has also rationalized its tariffs recently where the number of people allowed to watch has been expanded, with slight revisions in the price.
The viewers in India may want Disney to bring its content like Marvel and Star War movies. Another show, Mandalorian, which is also quite popular, may find takers in India. It is still not clear if Hotstar in the new avatar will modify its tariff when the Disney+ content get added to it.