Hotstar fetches over 4 million new subscribers for Disney+

Disney +, the video streaming service owned by Walt Disney, added about 8 million new subscribers globally during the January to March quarter, over half of which came from Disney + Hotstar, as the service is known as in India and other Asian countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia . The platform benefited from the Indian Premier League tournament which started on March 26, the company said in a results conversation on Wednesday. Disney + ended the quarter with 138 million globally paid Disney + subscribers with Hotstar alone for about 50 million subscribers. In addition, the company has earmarked $ 10.6 billion for sports during the fiscal year 2022, said its top executive.

Disney follows a fiscal year from October to September with the quarter January to March being the second quarter for the company.

The 4 million net additions for Hotstar are a step away from the 2.6 million paid subscribers it had acquired during the December quarter when it had received 45.9 million subscribers worldwide, a marginal decrease from the 46 million subscribers it was estimated to have in end of last quarter.

“We ended the quarter with nearly 138 million global paid Disney + subscribers, reflecting close to 8 million net additions from the first quarter. Just over half of these net additions came from Disney + Hotstar, which benefited from the start of the new IPL season towards the end of the second quarter. , says Christine McCarthy, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in a results interview.

McCarthy added that the company expects the fiscal year 2022 to spend a total of $ 32 billion globally, a third of which will go to sports. “(As for) the balance of these 32 billion dollars (goes), a meaningful sum of it will be a company-wide content budget that will be devoted to investments in the general entertainment content that we can benefit from on our various distribution platforms … theatrical as well as direct to the consumer.We have about 500 performances going on for local content outside the US or English speaking (the market) … 140 in Southeast Asia … in India there are 100, says McCarthy.

In recent months, Hotstar in India has been known for Ajay Devgn’s OTT debut Rudra – The Edge of Darknesshistorical drama The Empire with Shabana Azmi and Kunal Kapoor, crime drama Aarya, among others. The average monthly revenue per paid subscriber for Disney + Hotstar increased from $ 0.49 to $ 0.76 due to launches in new territories with higher average prices and higher advertising revenue per subscriber, partially offset by a higher mix of wholesale subscribers, Disney said in a statement.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek also mentioned that the company’s ad-supported subscription offer would be launched in the US in late 2022 and internationally in 2023. Expanding access to Disney + through multiple price points is “a win for consumers and advertisers,” he said.

News of the company’s ad-supported model comes close on the heels of rival streaming platform Netflix, which also admitted that it watched commercials to broaden its audience in a results conversation, last month. Mint had previously reported that video streaming platforms in India with paid subscribers could introduce advertising-driven plans to attract more users, while Amazon Prime Video launched its free miniTV service in May last year within the Android app with a library of web series and comedy sketches, others are offering older movies or some sections of popular programs for free, or tie up for branded content that is not behind the paywall.

Media experts said that a freemium strategy helps to provide an incentive for users sitting by the fence to subscribe, and is also a great opportunity to make money for the platform with the digital advertising market which is expected to grow 35-40% per year.

“The Disney + ad level will allow us to reach an even wider audience as we expand Disney + across multiple price ranges. And by using some of our other services, we can see the additive nature of an ad-driven service that allows us to keep the price lower. Of course, it is offset by the extra revenue we would get per user on the advertising expenses “, Chapek said during the profit call without revealing possible price points for new levels.

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