India’s wait for Disney’s subscription-based streaming service, ‘Disney Plus’ is over as the company has announced that it will arrive in the country on March 29 through its Hotstar app.
The announcement was made by Disney CEO Robert Iger during the company’s quarterly earnings call on Tuesday.
“We’re excited to announce that we will be launching Disney Plus in India through our Hotstar service on March 29th at the beginning of the Indian Premier League cricket season,” Iger said.
He hinted that the company will rebrand the Hotstar app to “Disney Plus Hotstar”.
“We see this as a great opportunity to use the proven platform of Hotstar to launch the new Disney Plus service in one of the most populous countries and fastest-growing economies in the world,” he added.
Disney had acquired Hotstar streaming service in 2017 as part of its acquisition of Fox Studios, which also included the entire Star India group. As of now, most of the premium Disney content is available on Hotstar app.
The decision to club Disney Plus with Hotstar will enable the Indian subscribers to finally watch some of the newer content from the studio’s streaming service, most notably “Star Wars” spin-off series “The Mandalorian” which is currently only available on Disney Plus.
Iger said the company is yet to finalise the pricing aspect of the rebranded streaming service, but it will be offered in two categories—premium and basic.
The Disney CEO also revealed that the company hopes to capitalise on the Indian Premiere League as Star India is the official broadcaster of the league.
With Hotstar and Disney Plus bundled together, the company hopes to take on the competition from existing players in the country’s streaming market, particularly Netflix and Amazon, who have already established a wide variety of Indian content on their platforms.
The streaming service also faces competition with domestic players such as ALTBalaji, Zee5, Eros Now, Sony Liv and Voot.
Disney Plus was launched in the US in November 12 last year. Besides India, Disney Plus is also set for rollout in the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria and Switzerland on March 24.
(With input from agencies)