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Disney Plus set to launch in India post-IPL 2020 via Hotstar

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Disney Plus will be launched in India in the second half of 2020, post the Indian Premier League (IPL) tournament, which is scheduled to conclude on May 12. This is according to a new report on TechCrunch, citing two sources "familiar with the company's plan."

Moreover, there will be no separate app for Disney Plus as the whole catalog will be available on Hotstar. It has been widely rumored as Hotstar is owned by Star India, which in turn, is owned by The Walt Disney Company.

Hotstar is the biggest streaming player in the Indian video streaming market, with over 300 million subscribers. So, it only makes sense for Disney to integrate its streaming catalog with Hotstar. However, it's easier said than done.

Hotstar works because India loves cricket

Hotstar offers an extensive and exclusive range of cricket and Premier League coverage. As a result, the streaming service made a record when 25 million concurrent viewers streamed the semi-finals of the ICC World Cup 2019, earlier this year.

That's how vital cricket is for Hotstar, but according to people in the know-how of internal analytics, the service saw a monthly decline in subscribers to the count of 60 million. This is after the IPL tournament and if these numbers are anything to go by, Hotstar needs that Disney Plus revamp.

Hotstar to increase subscription fees

The two anonymous sources cited in the report on TechCrunch also reveal that Hotstar plans to increase the subscription fees of its service in India. It will happen towards the end of Q1 2020 and before IPL begins.

While it's not confirmed, the subscription prices could be doubled, which will be a bummer for new subscribers. It could go up to $30 (around Rs 2,000) up from $15 (Rs 999). Do note, though, that these prices aren't official yet and could change by the time it happens.

Hotstar's library consists of exclusive cricket coverage, Hotstar Specials, Indian movies, international films & TV shows, Indian broadcast channels and titles from 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, Showtime, HBO and ABC studios. 

TechCrunch's report states that after the launch of Disney Plus in India, Hotstar could launch in Southeast Asian countries, starting with Indonesia and Malaysia. It's currently available in the US, Canada, and the UK, apart from India.

Meanwhile, Disney Plus got 10 million subscribers within 24 hours of launch, which is a pretty strong start, given that it's only available in the US, Canada, and the Netherlands for now. The service launched with a vast catalog of Disney titles, Pixar animated films, Star Wars Saga, and Marvel films.

Siddharth Chauhan
  • Siddharth Chauhan is the Consumer Technology Reporter at Digit India. He used to work as an Assistant Editor at TechRadar India