Disney has finally decided to launch its streaming platform in India and we need to talk about it ASAP


The Story

Whether it’s date night, a sleepover or simply unwinding after a hectic day, there’s nothing better than kicking back and binge-watching your favourite TV shows. And streaming platforms have made this experience better than ever. Gone are the days when you had to tune in at a certain time every night just to catch the latest episode. You don’t plan your schedule around the broadcast time now. You don’t have to hold off on bathroom breaks because you’re afraid of missing an important moment. Hell, you don’t even need a TV anymore.

And there is so much to choose from. You have Netflix, Hotstar, Amazon Prime, Voot, Zee5 and more. All of them have original content that you can’t find anywhere else. All of them license popular shows and movies you want to watch. And now there’s about to be another addition- Disney+. For the uninitiated, this means you can now get access to your favourite movies and TV shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic.

But that’s not even the juicy bit. The juicy bit is that they are going to enter the Indian Market via Hotstar. Now if you aren’t privy to the details, here’s what happened. In 2019, Disney acquired Fox Studios for a massive sum of $71 Billion. However since the Star India group was a part of Fox Studios, they joined the family as well. And since Hotstar is part and parcel of Star India, Disney technically owns the streaming platform. So the story goes that Disney+ will soon make its entry in India by rebranding their premium subscription within Hotstar to Disney+Hotstar.

But that leaves another question. Why the rebranding exercise? Why not just keep pushing content through Hotstar VIP and improve the library? It doesn’t have to be Disney+, so long as its good content right?

Well… not quite.

For one, content isn’t cheap. If you want to license a popular movie and broadcast it in India, it could [sometimes] cost you a lot more money. And that means you will have to ask your subscribers to pay a lot more than they used to. But Indian customers penny-pinch a lot. So they won’t pay up unless they know for a fact they are getting significantly more content in return. And if you quietly keep beefing up your library and suddenly ask customers to pay 20% more for a premium subscription, it’s unlikely a lot of people are going to pay up.

But if you make all the right noise, rebrand the premium subscription as Disney+Hotstar and then keep reminding them how this is an all-new service offering, maybe more people will put up the cash.

But that begs another question? If that is the basic premise is that Disney+ is a whole new universe within Hotstar, why not just launch Disney+ separately. After all, this will drive home the point more convincingly.

While that in fact is a possibility, imagine the kind of money you would have to spend to market a new streaming channel. It's crazy. Instead, with Hotstar Disney immediately gets access to Star’s existing resources and 100 million daily active users. In fact, rumour has it that Disney plans to make its debut in India during IPL season. Since Star India is the official broadcaster of the sporting event, millions of cricket fans will all be tuning in to support their teams and guess who will take prime time ad spots talking about their new product offering?

Yup, Disney+.

So yes, the streaming wars are going to get intense and you better have enough money to pick and choose between so many options.

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