Disney+ set to expand in Asia via Hotstar

Disney+ is to launch in India and Southeast Asia in the second half of 2020 via the Disney-owned Hotstar, according to reports.

US outlet Techcrunch has reported that the fledgling streamer’s titles will be made available via Star India’s popular OTT player Hotstar around June. Disney will then expand Hotstar – newly stocked with Disney+ titles – into Indonesia, Malaysia and other territories in Southeast Asia.

The proposed expansion follows Hotstar’s launch in the US, Canada and the UK in the last two years as part of a strategy of targeting markets with high Indian diasporas.

This year, the streamer revealed it has around 300m monthly active users – largely bolstered by an aggressive bid for rights to cricket series, which are followed religiously in India and large parts of Asia.

In July, Hotstar shattered records with more than 25m users concurrently streaming an ICC cricket tournament match on the platform. According to Techcrunch, however, viewership plummets by millions following the end of such tournaments, leaving the business eager to complement its offering with more Disney content.

A price hike is to follow the bolstered service, it is believed. While an annual Hotstar subscription in India costs around $14 a year, that figure could rise to $30.

An Asian expansion on the horizon for Disney+ follows this week’s largely successful launch. The business said that more than 10m people had signed up for a week-long free trial across the US, Canada and the Netherlands.

This far surpasses the expectations of analysts which had projected Disney+ would reach 8m subscribers by the end of the year, and does not even include Australia and New Zealand where the service launches on 19 December.

Disney+ launches in the UK and other Western European markets in March.

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