How Disney+ Hotstar, India’s largest video service, is changing the way we consume content

After the successful launch of Disney+ Hotstar that offers subscribers access to award-winning documentaries, big-ticket movies, top-rated shows from the biggest international studios and more, Disney+ Hotstar Multiplex is bringing the most-awaited blockbuster Bollywood movies directly to your homes
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In the last decade, the way human beings have consumed content has undergone a revolution. From radio to TV to over-the-top (OTT) platforms of today, consumers now control their own media consumption through an expanding range of smart devices.

A testament to India’s hunger for this widely popular media segment is in its growth potential. India’s video streaming industry is all set to grow at a CAGR of 21.82 percent to touch Rs. 11,977 crore by 2023, according to a report by global accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

While several players in this space tried scoring the early mover’s advantage to capture a huge market share, the mammoth Indian media brand — Hotstar — sprinted to become the country’s most popular on-demand video streaming service in very less time, thanks to streaming of popular sporting events and shows like Game of Thrones.

And Hotstar has only gone on to capture bigger chunks of the OTT (video streaming) market that is pegged at reaching $5 billion in size by 2023, according to a report by the Boston Consulting Group.

The recent upgrade of Hotstar to Disney+ Hotstar came at the right time for the platform. Starting with an abundant choice of content in three regional languages, the upgrade offers three choices of Disney+ Hotstar VIP, Disney+ Hotstar Premium and an ad-supported basic tier, setting it on track for a big market capture.

Users of Disney+ Hotstar VIP now get the best of global movies & shows dubbed in Hindi, Tamil & Telugu including superhero movies (Avengers: End Game), latest animation films (The Lion King, Frozen II), Kids favourite characters (Mickey Mouse, Doraemon), exclusive Hotstar Specials (Special Ops, Criminal Justice), unlimited LIVE sports and much more only for Rs 399 a year

Disney+ Hotstar Premium offers global English content including all the Disney+ Originals & award-winning Nat Geo documentaries like Jane and Free Solo, in addition to the content provided under its VIP membership and is priced at Rs 1,499 per annum. It makes it the only platform offering access to top-rated shows from the biggest international studios such as HBO, Fox, Showtime and ABC, among others. Subscribers get to watch the latest seasons and episodes of big-time shows like Homeland, Breaking Bad, Westworld, Modern Family, This is Us, and more.

(Regional) Content is King

The widened range of offerings aside, a shift in demographics has also helped Hostar grab more eyeballs. For instance, an India Watch Report 2019 showed consumers from non-metro cities made up 63 percent of the total entertainment video consumption for Hotstar — a shift in the assumption that online streaming is the preferred form of entertainment just for the English-speaking metro city dwellers.

In fact, the choice of watching the content in regional languages such as Hindi, Tamil or Telugu has helped the new Disney+ Hotstar entice subscribers. There is something for everyone here, even for those who have grown up watching Disney classics, the Star Wars franchise or eagerly stood in line to watch the latest Marvel movie.

Disney+ Hotstar Multiplex

The platform is also filling the gap for content that can be watched and re-watched across generations. With the launch of Disney+ Hotstar Multiplex in late-June, Bollywood fans can watch the premiers of seven of the most-awaited movies of 2020 from July 24 onwards: From Laxmmi Bomb starring Akshay Kumar and Kiara Advani to Ajay Devgn, Sonakshi Sinha and Sanjay Dutt’s Bhuj: The Pride of India, the late Sushant Singh Rajput and Sanjana Sanghi’s Dil Bechara, Sadak 2 starring Sanjay Dutt, Alia Bhatt, Aditya Roy Kapur and Pooja Bhatt, Abhishek Bachchan- starrer The Big Bull, Vidyut Jammwal’s Khuda Haafiz and Kunal Kemmu and Rasika Dugal’s Lootcase, among others.

While existing subscribers of Disney+ Hotstar Premium and Disney+ Hotstar VIP can enjoy these blockbuster movies at no additional cost, non-subscribers can simply purchase an annual membership of Disney+ Hotstar VIP at Rs 399 per annum to watch these movies.

A family entertainer

Moreover, the regional language content has also helped parents familiarise kids with their mother-tongue, often ignored in modern households that covet English. A subscription of Disney+ Hotstar (VIP and Premium) gives children the comfort of watching their favourite cartoons dubbed in their preferred language.

However, with so much content available, it is imperative for parents to be able to control what their children can consume. For this, Disney+ Hotstar has introduced a new “Kids” mode to its platform that filters age-appropriate content, bringing a form of parental control to the streaming service.

Besides children, the video streaming platform has a wide library of titles for all age groups and generations, be it Artemis Fowl, a Sci-fi movie about a 12-year-old genius and the descendant of a long line of criminal masterminds, to High School Musical to its exhaustive collection of top-rated Hollywood films and Hotstar Specials in regional languages.

The platform serves as a great family entertainer also because of its highly engaging original content, which is a mixed bag of scripted and unscripted series and features. While The Mandalorian & Lady and the Tramp offer entertainment for all tastes, unscripted titles like Disney Family Sundays and Be Our Chef engage families in fun activities.

The road ahead

Going forward, it is banking on ramping up its original content under their Hotstar specials banner — think Hostages, Special Ops, and more recently, Aarya and Hundred. Users can also expect a behind-the-scenes special series that will give users the glimpse of what life is like in Disney with shows like Inside Pixar.

The platform’s catalogue is regularly updated with all-time favourites that subscribers can exclusively access. As per people in the know, there are many more Hotstar Specials in the offing for this year.

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