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Disney Plus launching in India on March 29 through Hotstar

Hotstar membership fees will increase with the arrival of Disney+.

February 05, 2020 / 01:14 PM IST

Since its launch in November last year, Disney+ has been building a massive user base, despite only launching in the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Netherlands. However, Disney has now confirmed its plan to launch the video streaming service in Western Europe and India. The service will launch in India on March 29, a few days after its March 24 debut in Western Europe.

In an earnings call with analysts, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that Disney+ would arrive in the one of the world’s largest entertainment market at the beginning of the next IPL season. Disney Plus will take advantage of Hotstar’s popularity in the region and come bundled with the popular Indian video-on-demand streaming service.

With a population of over 1.3 billion, India will potentially be Disney’s largest market, and the entertainment giant is pulling out all the stops to hit the ground running. However, the service will only arrive to select cities in the country and could expand to more locations in the future. Disney is looking at millennials as its primary target audience in the country.

Bundling Disney+ with Hotstar could also see the price of the video-on-demand service go up. Hotstar's Premium membership will currently set you back Rs 999 for a year, while a VIP membership costs Rs 365 per year. The addition of Disney’s entire arsenal will undoubtedly cause Hotstar’s Premium and VIP membership fees increase but by how much remains to be seen. We estimate prices to go up by anywhere between Rs 300 to 700 for the Premium membership and around Rs 100 to 300 more for the VIP membership. However, we doubt prices will be as expensive as the rates in the United States (Roughly Rs 500 a month).

Considering Disney+ will be bundled with Hotstar and use its existing billing system, we can rule out the possibility of a monthly fee. Additionally, Amazon Prime Video and Netflix memberships in India will set you back Rs 129 and Rs 199 (Mobile-only), respectively, while Apple TV+ is available for Rs 99 a month in the country. With the right price and Disney’s entire library, Disney+ could take a chunk out of Netflix’s audience in the country. Netflix has also been testing yearly plans at reduced prices in India.
Carlsen Martin
first published: Feb 5, 2020 01:14 pm

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