Disney's on-demand streaming service, Disney+, is finally ready to be launched in one of the largest entertainment markets in the world - India.
The platform will debut through Hotstar - another OTT platform operated by the company - on March 29 and take all the planned originals, including shows like WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, to the audience.
Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed India launch
Just recently, Disney CEO Bob Iger told analysts that Disney+ will be launched in India through Hotstar, the OTT platform the company had acquired through its acquisition of 21st Century Fox and Star India.
Previously, the service was expected to debut in the second-half of 2020, but Iger claimed that the launch is scheduled for the beginning of IPL, which starts on March 29.
Hotstar's premium tier to be rebranded
While Iger didn't share specific details of the launch, he emphasized that the move will see Hotstar Premium, the service's premium offering with shows and movies from HBO, ABC, and Showtime, rebrand into "Disney+ Hotstar".
It will get all the original programming planned by Disney, while the second product, dubbed Hotstar VIP, won't have that and will continue to be more basic.
Here's what Iger said about the two tiers
"One will be more premium in nature that will include the entire library of original programming and the other one will be more basic that will have the library and not the original programming priced for the market."
No word on the pricing yet
So far, there is no word on how much Disney plans to charge to include Disney+ shows and movies in the premium tier of Hotstar.
However, given that the company is bringing more originals into the package, including some highly-anticipated shows of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we expect that Hotstar Premium, which currently comes at Rs. 999/year, will become expensive in the coming months.
Eventual plan to launch Hotstar in other countries
After rolling out Disney+ in India, Disney will launch the Star-managed service in Southeast Asian markets in order to offer Disney+ there too.
"We see this as a great opportunity to use the proven platform of Hotstar to launch the new Disney+ service in one of the most populous countries and fastest-growing economies in the world," Iger added while detailing the expansion plan.
Disney+ has 26.5 million subscribers
Disney+ boasts 26.5 million paying subscribers in the US, Canada, Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand. Meanwhile, the number is expected to increase with the launch in India as well as in the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, and Austria on March 24.