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Walt Disney looks to strengthen its presence in India with Disney+

Walt Disney is all set to reign India’s fledgling USD 500-million-plus video streaming market.

Image credit to 123rf.com.cn.

The California-headquartered mass media and entertainment conglomerate, Walt Disney, which owns and operates Hotstar in India, plans to bring its recently launched on-demand video service Disney+ to the country mid-next year, a report by Techcrunch said.

Launched on November 12 at USD 6.99 a month in the US, Disney+ surpassed 10 million subscribers on the first day of its rollout. Apart from featuring nearly 500 films and 7,500 episodes of television from the Disney universe, the company, over the next one year, plans to release more than 25 original series and 10 original films including animated series ‘Marvel’s What If…?’, documentary series Magic of the Animal Kingdom, and live-action series The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.

According to the Techcrunch report, Disney+’s catalog of shows will be available on Hotstar post May, after the frenzy over country’s flagship cricket tournament Indian Premier League fizzles out.  In the second half of the next year, Disney will expand Hotstar’s offerings to Indonesia and Malaysia among other southeast Asian nations, that will feature Disney+ shows and movies, the report added.

According to Disney’s recent investor presentation, India will have a billion-screen opportunity by 2023, including 750 million smartphones and 250 million televisions.

India remains one of the key markets for global streaming players like Disney, Netflix, and Amazon.  The video-on-demand market is expected to reach a market potential of USD 4.5 to USD 5 billion by 2023, according to research firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG). It expects the country to have 40 to 50 million paying subscribers by 2023, while about 600 million Indians would consume AVOD (ad-supported video-on-demand) such as YouTube.

It will not be easy for Walt Disney to capture the market as it is already cluttered with multiple on demand video streaming services. Earlier this month Apple also launched its video streaming platform Apple TV+ in India that will showcase popular shows, movies as well as original shows. There are at least  30 global and local players, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar, ZEE5, ALTBalaji, and Voot operating in India.

At present, Hotstar enjoys a 29% market share in the industry, while Amazon Prime and Netflix have about 10% and 5% of market share, respectively, according to data-driven research platform Oddup.

Walt Disney has been aggressively pushing its streaming strategy globally since last year. The company entered the streaming space by rolling out over-the-top live sports streaming service ESPN+ in the US in April 2018. Two months later, it acquired Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox Inc. in a USD 71 billion cash and stock deal. As a part of the deal, it also got its hands on the US-based streaming service Hulu and Indian video on demand platform Hotstar.

Now with Disney+, it has secured four streaming services in its kitty. While its newest service is positioned globally, Hulu and ESPN+ are primarily focused on the US market. Hotstar, on the other hand, will cater to Asian countries, according to its investor presentation.