Disney+ Hotstar subscribers nearing 9 million; OTT service to launch in Indonesia

Hotstar has had a quiet year so far in the absence of live cricket. It still contributes 15 percent to Disney+ global subscriber base.

India's earliest OTT platform Hotstar (rebranded to Disney+ Hotstar in March) has had a relatively quieter year compared to the dizzying heights of 2019.

With the pandemic leading to cancellations and delays in marquee events like the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the ICC T20 World Cup, the video-streaming service has gone through a period devoid of its biggest growth driver — live cricket.

Disney+ launched in India in April 2020

However, things may not be all that bad.

Disney+ Hotstar paid subscribers reached 8.63 million in the April-to-June quarter, contributing nearly 15 percent to Disney+'s global subscriber base, the company revealed in its latest earnings call.

Bob Chapek, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, announced that Disney+’s overall Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) during the quarter was $4.62. "However, excluding Disney+ Hotstar, it was $5.31," he said.

This essentially means Hotstar's ARPU is $0.71 (which is a little over Rs 53). The service operates on a freemium model unlike its top peers Amazon Prime Video and Netflix.

The CEO explained,

"At Star, higher results reflect lower programming costs partially offset by lower advertising revenue. Both of these drivers reflect the absence of cricket in the quarter including a shift in rights costs for IPL, which we expect to be recognised in future quarters and the absence of costs for the quadrennial ICC World Cup, which aired in the prior-year quarter."

Live cricket is the biggest revenue driver for Hotstar.

The 2019 ICC World Cup is estimated to have raked in several hundred crores of revenues for Hotstar. It also saw record viewership numbers during the event. The app has crossed 400 million downloads.

The Walt Disney Company also revealed that it would be launching Disney+ Hotstar in Indonesia next month.

Bob shared,

"We will also be rolling out Disney+ Hotstar on September 5 in Indonesia, one of the world’s most populous countries. By the year-end, Disney+ will be available in nine of the top 10 economies. 

"The fact that Disney+ has grown as rapidly as it has both domestically and globally clearly demonstrates the value of our content. And through the addition of our Star-branded general entertainment offering, we are further extending the value of that content internationally," he added.

Overall, Disney+ subscribers reached 60.5 million as of August 2020.

"When you look across our full portfolio of direct-to-consumer businesses at Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+, the combined global reach now exceeds an astounding 100 million paid subscriptions," the company stated.

Edited by Megha Reddy