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India contributes 30% to Disney+'s global base - IPL was key

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Cricket, in the form of IPL, seems to have driven up the subscribers numbers of Disney+ Hotstar in India, which in turn has added considered weight to Disney+'s global figures.

Rebecca Campbell, chairman, international operations and direct-to-consumer, the Walt Disney Company said at the company's annual investor day (opens in new tab) that the Disney+ has around 86.8 million global subscribers as of December. About 30% of this, which translates into 26.8 million, comes from Disney+ Hotstar (the Indian arm), which these days has added to its exclusive Indian content.

"We are uniquely positioned for India because of the rapidly growing middle class and their purchasing power," she said of the company's presence in India.

Disney is expecting that it will have between 230 million and 260 million Disney+ subscribers by 2024.

IPL drives Disney+ Hotstar's rapid growth 

It came to light during the presentation at the investor day that Disney+ Hotstar added nearly 7.5 million paid members in the last two months. Much of this user base growth is attributed to the streaming of the Indian Premier League (IPL) that began on September 19 and ran till November 10.

The company had said last month that IPL streaming had generated average revenue of $2.19 per user in India in the September-ended quarter.

The India model shall serve as a template for other south Asian markets such as Indonesia, the company said at the investor meet.

Disney+ Hotstar currently offers content in seven Indian languages and is adding about 17,000 hours of original local programming every year (this includes cricket and other sports streaming.)

Hotstar rebranded itself to Disney+ Hotstar in India this April.

Star and Star+ in other markets

The good show of Disney+ Hotstar in India (and also Indonesia) has helped the company to offer the service to other markets through two different brands - Star and Star+.

Star will be a general entertainment offering including movies, shows as well as sports content from ESPN.

In markets like  Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, Star will be available as a dedicated hub within the Disney+ app from February 23, 2021. The service will also be available in Japan and South Korea later in 2021.

In Latin America, the service will be launched as a standalone service Star+ in June 2021.

This will be the sixth tier on the service along with content from Disney, Pixar, National Geographic, Marvel and Star Wars. 

Major announcements from Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, Disney Animation Studios, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, were also announced at the meet yesterday. 

Over next few years, 10 Star Wars series, 10 Marvel series, 15 Disney & Pixar series and 15 Disney & Pixar features will be made.

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Balakumar K
Balakumar K

Over three decades as a journalist covering current affairs, politics, sports and now technology. Former Editor of News Today, writer of humour columns across publications and a hardcore cricket and cinema enthusiast. He writes about technology trends and suggest movies and shows to watch on OTT platforms.