Anirban Roy Choudhury

Of 86.8 million Disney+ subscribers, 30% are from Disney+ Hotstar; Company is eyeing 350 million subs globally by 2024

The Walt Disney Company revealed the ambitious next steps in its global streaming expansion at its 2020 Investor Day

During the Investor Day presentation, The Walt Disney Company announced that, as of December 2, 2020, its portfolio of direct-to-consumer services has exceeded a total of 137 million global paid subscriptions. It includes 11.5 million ESPN+ subscribers, 38.8 million Hulu subscribers, and a staggering 86.8 million Disney+ subscribers since its launch in November 2019.

In October 2019, on the sidelines of a press conference in Mumbai, Sanjay Gupta former Country Manager, Star and Disney India had said, "Hotstar is one of the hottest Disney brands..." Gupta has moved on from Star and Disney India and has joined Google. However, his assertion is turning true.

Out of the 86.8 million paid Disney+ subscribers, 30 per cent are contributed by Disney+ Hotstar informed Rebecca Campbell, chairman, international operations and direct-to-consumer, the Walt Disney Company. Hotstar is the video on demand streaming platform launched by Star India which was acquired by Disney. After the launch of Disney+, in India, Indonasia... Hotstar became Disney+ Hotstar.

After exceeding expectations, The Walt Disney Company shared guidance that it now expects its streaming services to hit 300–350 million total subscriptions globally by fiscal 2024, driven primarily by a significant increase in content output. Disney+ alone is targeting to release more than 100 titles per year.

The media conglomerate has also revealed a vast slate of content from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic.

Bob Chapek, Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company, and Bob Iger, Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board, led the virtual event, which included presentations from leaders of the company’s content and distribution teams, along with financial updates from Christine McCarthy, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, and Lowell Singer, Senior Vice President, Investor Relations.

Bob Chapek, Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company
Bob Chapek, Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company

“The tremendous success we’ve achieved across our unique portfolio of streaming services, with more than 137 million subscriptions worldwide, has bolstered our confidence in our acceleration toward a DTC-first business model,” said Chapek.

He added, “With our amazing creative teams and our ever-growing collection of the high-quality branded entertainment that consumers want, we believe we are incredibly well positioned to achieve our long-term goals.”

The biggest announcement during the Investor Day virtual event was the introduction of Star a new brand in the streaming world. "Building on the successful launch of Disney+ Hotstar in India and Indonesia, Disney shared new details for its international general entertainment content brand, Star, which will be included as part of Disney+ in select international markets, and launch as a separate streaming service in Latin America as Star+," announced the organisation.

The Star brand will serve as home to thousands of hours of television and movies from Disney’s creative studios, including Disney Television Studios, FX, 20th Century Studios, 20th Television, and more, enhanced by the addition of local programming from the regions where available.

Star will launch in Europe and several other international markets on February 23, 2021, as a fully integrated part of Disney+, with its own branded tile and a new collection of renowned general entertainment series, movies, documentaries and more that will double the content catalog available to Disney+ subscribers.

In Europe, the service will be priced at €8.99 per month or €89.90 per year, with a similar pricing adjustment in the other Star launch markets, including Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. The streaming service will continue its global rollout, now with Star, in new markets beginning with Singapore on February 23, 2021, followed by Eastern Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea later in 2021.

In Latin America, to take advantage of the region’s portfolio of live sporting events, the company will launch Star+ as a standalone streaming service. Star+ brings together an unrivaled Star content collection, local original productions, and an array of live sports from ESPN, including top soccer leagues, grand slam tennis, and more. Star+ will launch in June 2021 as a stand-alone service for $7.50 per month (or the local equivalent), or as part of an attractively priced bundle with Disney+ for $9.00 per month (or the local equivalent).

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