According to the latest news from Disney, the Disney-Hotstar service already has about 8 million subscribers in India, according tomedia TechCrunch. Disney said Wednesday that its eponymous streaming service now has more than 50 million subscribers, including nearly 8 million in India. Five years ago Hotstar was India’s most popular streaming-on-demand service, with more than 300 million subscribers. The service and its operator, Indian network Star India, were acquired last year as part of Disney’s $71 billion deal with Fox.
For years, industry insiders have been curious about Hotstar’s high-end user base—- but to no avail. Most estimate it has about 1.5 to 2 million users. Executives at rival companies expect the figure to be lower. In fact, a recent months-long analysis by a streaming company in India concluded that there were 2m paying subscribers to music and video services. So 8 million is a huge milestone.
But Disney’s ARPU value from its 8 million users will be much lower. The annual fee for the Disney-Hotstar market in India is about $20 (this is the revised subscription fee). Before the launch of Disney Plus in India, Hotstar charged about $13). The service also offers a lower-cost tier, costing less than $5.50 a year.
The $20-a-year fee gives Disney and Hotstar users access to an extensive catalog, including the English-language version of Disney Originals, as well as several local languages, live sporting events, dozens of TV channels, and thousands of movies and programs, including some from HBO, Showtime, ABC and Fox, which have partnerships with Indian streaming services.
“I think everyone is still trying to sort out the right pricing. The average Indian consumer is indeed used to being well below market prices and can’t afford to pay more. But we need to focus on consumers who might buy, who have essential broadband access and revenue,” Matthew Ball, a former head of strategic planning at Amazon Studios, told TechCrunch in a recent conversation.
Disney’s competitors in India include Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Time’s Amazon’s MX Player (with more than 175 million monthly active subscribers), Zee5, Apple TV Plus and Alt Balaji, which has more than 27 million subscribers. Most monthly subscriptions for these services are priced below $3.