Updated: February 5, 2020 10:38:52 am
Disney+, the company’s streaming service that launched in November last year, is officially coming to India on March 29. This was confirmed by Disney CEO Robert Iger in the first quarter, 2020 earnings call. Disney+ will come as part of Hotstar, according to his comments. The service already has 28.6 million paid subscribers.
“We’re also excited to announce that we will be launching Disney Plus in India through our Hotstar service on March 29, at the beginning of the Indian Premier League Cricket season. We will be rebranding our existing Hotstar VIP and Premium subscription tiers to Disney Plus Hotstar,” Iger said during the call.
He added that Disney saw this as an opportunity to use the proven platform of Hotstar to launch the new Disney Plus service in the crucial India market. Previously it was rumoured that Disney+ would come to India as part of Hotstar.
Hotstar, which is the leading streaming service in India, already shows Marvel movies and content, which is exclusive to Disney.
Disney+ will also launch in other international markets in March. On March 24, the service goes live in UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Austria. Currently Disney+ is live in markets like US, Canada, and Netherlands. The service costs $6.99 per month in the US. This comes to Rs 497 per month approximately.
Cost of the Disney+ streaming service will be crucial when it comes to India. Right now, Hotstar Premium costs Rs 999 per year or Rs 299 per month. There’s also a Hotstar VIP service for Rs 365 per year, which has live sports, including cricket, Premier League and Formula 1, along with access to episodes of Indian TV shows, Indian movies, Hotstar specials, and Avengers: Endgame in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. This version does not give access to the English content on Hotstar, unlike the Premium subscription.
Given Disney+ will be bundled into Hotstar, the pricing will likely change for accessing both services. Right now, Netflix is the most expensive streaming service in India, with a 4K Premium plan that costs Rs 799 per month, though it has a basic mobile only plan as well for Rs 199. Amazon Prime Video costs Rs 999 per year, though it bundles several other benefits as well.
The Disney streaming service will bring more Marvel franchise content to India along with other content to which it has exclusive rights. Plus Disney owns all the Star Wars movies, and its new show Mandalorian, which has been a hit.