Hotstar drops Disney+ early in India, content now streaming for premium users at no extra cost

By: |
March 11, 2020 3:58 PM

In a surprising turn of events, Disney+ is now available in India, way ahead of its scheduled March 29 launch.

disney+Disney+ is now available in India, way ahead of its scheduled March 29 launch. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

In a surprising turn of events, Disney+ is now available in India, way ahead of its scheduled March 29 launch. As expected, Disney+ is arriving in India through Hotstar. This means, ‘premium’ Hotstar users can now stream – and also download – Disney+ content in India. Interestingly, Hotstar isn’t updating its price tiers with the addition of Disney+ just yet.

Hotstar has been silently updating its app and logo ahead of Disney+ launch. Both the things have been updated to ‘highlight’ Disney+ is now available in India. Hotstar has rebranded the app as Disney+Hotstar – with Disney+ content resting as a separate tab in the Hotstar app for both iOS and Android. The content layout is reminiscent of the original service that has been available in the US since November last year.

“We’re excited to announce that we will be launching Disney Plus in India through our Hotstar service on March 29th at the beginning of the Indian Premier League cricket season,” the then Disney CEO Robert Iger had said during the company’s quarterly earnings call. Robert Iger has since been replaced by Bob Chapek.

Coming back to Disney+ coming to India, the service – like it is in the West – will bank heavily on a back catalogue of popular Disney films and cartoons (especially from the 90s) plus an exhaustive collection of originals including critically acclaimed The Mandalorian, to make a selling. Content will be available from across hallmark Disney, Pixar, Marvel and National Geographic – in addition to content from the Star Wars franchise. Content will be available in core English as well as local languages like Hindi, Tamil and Telugu – although this may not be true for every content.

The best part about Disney+ arriving in India through Hotstar – at this point of time – is that the OTT platform isn’t charging extra for the service. At least not yet. This means premium Hotstar users can avail the service for Rs 999 a year alongside content from HBO and others. Some Disney+ content will also be available for Hotstar VIP users.

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