Low Broadband Speeds, Mobile First Makes Product Localizations Critical: Disney CEO

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Disney+ Hostar, the Over-the-Top (OTT) streaming platform run by Walt Disney owned Star India streams 17,000 hours of original programming each year, Bob Chapek, chief executive officer of Walt Disney said. The development is on the heels of Christine McCarthy, chief financial officer of the Walt Disney Company in early February highlighting that Disney+ Hotstar makes up approximately 30% of the Disney+ user base. McCarthy in the first quarter earnings call in February said that Disney+ Hotstar “continued” its “strong growth trend” with user additions. The Walt Disney CFO also said that the company made it “economical” for users to sign up to a one year subscription of the Disney+ Hotstar.

Disney+ Hostar Ultimate Streaming Destination in Southeast Asia: Disney CEO

Chapek on Monday said that Disney+ Hotstar is the “ultimate streaming destination in Southeast Asia and in India” with the Walt Disney CEO also highlighting that Star is the “number one broadcaster” in India.

“India's one of the few markets in the world, where television viewing is actually up,” Chapek said in the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecommunications Conference. “We've got the leading sports portfolio in India, which is, as you know, critically important there. It's the exclusive home for cricket events and we're really pleased with the way that business has unfolded in Southeast Asia and India.”

As of January 2, 2021, Disney+ is said to have roped in 94.9 million users across the world. In early December, 2020, McCarthy in the Walt Disney investor day conference said that the company expects to have between 230 million to 260 million paid Disney+ users by the end of fiscal 2024. The Walt Disney CFO said that Disney+ Hotstar could account between 30% to 40% of its total subscriber base by the end of fiscal 2024.

Chapek on Monday said that the “programming investment in entertainment and sports” that the company is currently making will aid it to reach its guidance numbers.

“At the same time, we realize this is a very unique market,” Chapek said. “So we've got distribution partnerships, [Reliance] Jio in India, and Telkomsel in Indonesia but it doesn't even end there because the product localizations are absolutely critical here, because there's low broadband speeds and it's a mobile first market.”

Disney+ Hotstar Programs “Very Specific in Various Markets”

Reliance Jio in early June, 2020, announced that its prepaid users with select monthly, annual and data add-on packs will receive a one year complimentary Disney+ Hotstar VIP subscription for no additional cost.

“In Asia-Pacific, we teamed with Jio, India’s largest telecom network and the third largest mobile network operator in the world, serving nearly 400 million customers,” Michael Paull, president of Disney+ and ESPN+ at the Walt Disney Company said in the investor day conference. “Together with Jio, we made it simple and convenient for prepaid mobile customers to access Disney+ Hotstar, helping drive rapid growth in India.”

Chapek on Monday said that the company is “doing a fairly decent job” in “being very specific in various markets” with respect to the programming content.

“This is not a one size fits all and India certainly is sort of the, if you will, the shining example of the need to be unique and cater to that market,” Chapek said.

The company in December said that it will release around 10 Marvel series, 10 Star Wars series, 15 Disney live-action, animation and Pixar series directly on its Disney+ platform. Further, it was said that the company will be “adding something new to the service every week” including theatrical releases.

In February, Motilal Oswal Financial Services in a report said that Disney+ Hotstar has 19 million paid users in India while Amazon Prime and Netflix have six million and three million paid users respectively. The firm also said that Zee5 and SonyLIV complete the top five with three million and two million paid users respectively.

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Born in India, Yogesh loves to travel and has lived in multiple countries including New Zealand and Canada. His bylines can be found on various newspapers and blogs throughout the world, including Vancouver Sun, Surrey Now-Leader, Daily Hive , Investing News Network and Rach F1.

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