Walt Disney Co’s newly launched streaming service Disney+ was set to make its debut in the Indian market on 29th March by merging with the company’s Hotstar platform, naming the service as ‘Disney+ Hoststar’.
The launch of Disney+ in India was to coincide with the beginning of the new season of the Indian Premier League cricket. However, since the season has now been pushed, Disney has decided to put the Disney+ launch on hold.
Commenting on the development, Uday Shankar, President – The Walt Disney Company APAC and Chairman, Star & Disney India, said in a statement: “We recently announced that Disney+ would launch in India through the Hotstar service in conjunction with the beginning of the Indian Premier League cricket season. Given the delay of the season, we have made the decision to briefly pause the roll-out of Disney+ and will announce a new revised premiere date for the service soon.”
It has also cancelled a press briefing on Disney+’s India plans, citing concerns over the coronavirus disease. The company had already started testing the service with a small group of subscribers earlier this month in India.
It makes sense for the company to wait for IPL to launch Disney+ given that IPL is the biggest attraction on Hotstar all year, which has helped the platform set several streaming records. Last year, the service said more than 25 million viewers simultaneously watched a game.
Hotstar had reported 300 million monthly active users last year. However, most of the subscribers on the platform are the users of free, advertising-supported service and Disney has said it is aiming to convert many of these users into paying subscribers with its content catalogue.
As per the reports, Disney+ Hotstar will have two tiers of pricing where the premium option will include original programming like Star Wars TV series The Mandalorian and WandaVision and Loki from Marvel. However, the company has not yet revealed pricing details.