Walt Disney’s bet on India seems to be paying off as the world’s second-most populous nation now accounts for almost one-third of the Disney+ subscribers globally.
Disney+ Hotstar has 26 million subscribers, which accounts for 30% of Disney+’s 86.8 million subscribers globally, Rebecca Campbell, chairman, international operations and direct-to-consumer, the Walt Disney Company said at the company’s annual investor day on Thursday.
The American entertainment giant brought its latest streaming service, Disney+ to India in April through its Indian streaming platform Hotstar and rebranded it as Disney+ Hotstar. The service then entered the Indonesia market in September. India currently accounts for a majority of Disney+ Hotstar’s subscribers.
Disney+ Hotstar, which had 18.5 million paying users by the end of September quarter, added 7.5 million subscribers in the last two months. The growth came on the back of 13th edition of Indian Premier League, a popular cricketing tournament that ran from mid-September to mid-November. During the earnings call for September quarter, the company said Disney+ Hotstar had generated an average revenue of USD 2.19 per user in India.
As such the streaming service, along with other players, had been seeing a spike in the number of users and the time they spent on the platforms as millions of Indians were forced to stay at home earlier this year due to the pandemic.
“We are uniquely positioned for India because of the rapidly growing middle class and their purchasing power, said Campbell. “India is a promising market opportunity and we are uniquely positioned to succeed in the country due to our existing presence with Star TV and Hotstar.”
According to Campbell, Disney+ Hotstar currently offers content in seven Indian languages and is adding about 17,000 hours of original local content every year.
“This strategy is our template for other South Asian markets that are also driven by local content and mobile consumption, with Indonesia being the first market,” Campbell said.
Walt Disney expects Disney+ subscribers to have between 230 million and 260 million subscribers by 2024. As of December 2, its portfolio of direct-to-consumer services exceeded to a total of 137 million global paid subscriptions, including 11.5 million ESPN+ subscribers, 38.8 million Hulu subscribers, and 86.8 million Disney+ subscribers since its launch in November 2019, the California-headquartered company said.
By fiscal 2024, the entertainment behemoth expects its streaming services to hit 300-350 million total subscriptions, driven primarily by “a significant increase in content output.” Disney+ alone is targeting to release more than 100 titles per year.