Disney+ Launches in India Through Hotstar with a Host of New Content

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Disney+ Hotstar
Disney+ Hotstar

Disney+ has seen a huge response around the world after the streaming service released to raging reviews. It boasts of a staggering 28.6 million paying subscribers and counting, considering it is not available globally yet.

Considering those numbers, Disney+ just came out in India through Hotstar, which Disney owns, almost a week late. Hotstar itself is a very popular streaming platform in India, with 300 million monthly active users. The move to merge the two platforms, additionally, makes sense, considering Hotstar already has an infrastructure in place – and a popular one at that.

Disney+ offers a myriad of TV shows and movies from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and National Geographic. The merger of the two contents will substantially add to Hotstar’s content offerings and, eventually, ratings – giving it a lead in the streaming wars in the country.

Apart from TV shows and such, Hotstar has a stream of exclusive cricket streaming deals on the platform, which makes it very popular amongst the masses.

Disney+ India offers a host of original content including the fan-favourite The Mandalorian apart from other exclusive content from HBO, FOX, ABC and Showtime. Additionally, Disney+ Hotstar, as the service is now called, will feature live sporting events and a variety of TV channels. Content will be available in English as well as in several local languages.

There is, however, one downside. Unlike Disney+’s U.S. offerings, Disney+ India will not support 4K streaming. Additionally, it streams content at a tenth of their bitrate.

On the other hand, Disney+ has released in India with one of the most affordable plans around the world. It is priced at Rs 1,499 for a year for the Premium subscription whereas the VIP subscription is priced at Rs 399 per year. The VIP subscription will offer subscribers access to movies, shows and live sporting events. However, it will not include Disney Originals or those shows sourced from U.S. networks and studios mentioned above.

Previous to the launch of Disney+, Hotstar was available for Rs 999 per year for Premium whereas VIP was Rs 365 per year.

Hotstar’s popularity in India is spearheaded by the streaming of sporting events, especially major cricket matches like the IPL tournament. During last year’s IPL, Hotstar amassed more than 300 million monthly active users and around 100 million daily active users. Hotstar, moreover, provides access to about 80% of its catalogue at no cost to the subscribers. These viewers, however, are monetised through ads.

Hotstar, is an over-the-top streaming service owned by Star India and has primarily two subscription tiers. The VIP tier focuses mostly on domestic programmes and sports content whereas the Premium tier additionally features international films and TV series. Disney+ became a part of Hotstar after Disney bought Star India’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, in 2019. The move to integrate the two platforms came into being keeping in mind Hotstar’s existing infrastructure and huge userbase. After the integration, Hotstar has done away with its green and yellow logo on a black background. It has now been renamed and rebranded as Disney+ Hotstar in both the app and website.

You can check out the full list of shows streaming on Disney+ Hotstar here.

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