Disney Plus, The Walt Disney Company’s long-awaited video streaming service, is all set to debut on the Indian market on April 3rd, 2020. Running in different countries as an independent platform, they will launch their streaming services through Hotstar. They were meant to go live earlier, along with the Indian Premier League ( IPL), on March 29th. The IPL suspension, however, also made them stop the launch, but it seems they have altered the strategy to work things to their advantage.
*The Catch at Lockdown:-
Visuals have become an important source of knowledge and entertainment with India in lockdown and individuals confined at home in the vicinity. Simply saying that Disney Plus is rescheduling its launch comes as a smart move that is sure to work in their favor. We have already provided 9 evidence that shows that India has been glued to its screens by the coronavirus. The time spent on smartphones during the first week of the pandemic increased by 1.5 hours, a gain of 6 percent, according to the new BARC-Nielsen report on Covid-19 and its effect on the TV and mobile landscape.
As we witnessed a rise of 8 percent to 959 billion minutes per week, the viewing time for television in India increased by over 70 billion minutes. Like never before, the lockdown has made people spend a lot of time on their phones, which basically means that people want to see new and fresh stuff. The step by Disney offers customers what they are waiting for.
*A Switch from Smart-Master:-
It is important to learn from your competitors and their errors when launching something. The introduction of Disney shows they’ve done their homework correctly. They entered the market with the sole intention to conquer the territory when the US company Netflix launched in India. They did not, however, understand how customers spend and work in the Indian market. As they launched Fox last year, Disney-owned Hotstar made them acquire the over-the-top ( OTT) network as well as the largest viewed streaming platform in India. While we have other major players, such as Amazon, Netflix, and new platforms such as Alt Balaji, Voot, Hungama Play, Zee 5, Hotstar still dominates the industry.
*Netflix vs Hotstar vs Others:-
Hostar controls 29 percent (about 300 million active users, Amazon Prime controls 10 percent and Netflix controls 5 percent), according to Odd up.
The annual subscription, which is priced at INR 199 per month or INR 999 per annum, and the sports pack for Rs 299 per year were one of the key reasons why Hotstar dominated the market. Though Netflix has subscription plans such as a single-screen standard definition (SD) plan at INR 499, the High Definition plan allows you to stream at INR 649 and a four-screen premium Ultra HD 4 K plan at INR 799 per month. They have also recently introduced a mobile-only plan to maximise viewership, which costs INR 199 per month. This only helped Hotstar to achieve supremacy in the OTT industry.
Hotstar also had content that India is used to watching though pricing did wonder. The IPL, in particular, gave them a lead from television daily soaps to cricket. 18.6 million viewers watched the IPL’s championship game last May to put in numbers, marking a global live streaming record. Some exclusive HBO series, such as Game of Thrones, Billions, Westworld, Homeland, and more, we’re also granted rights. While Netflix tried to upgrade its game with a mobile subscription, even half the margin of Hotstar can still not be reached.
*Disney+ Hotstar Plans:-
Hotstar is already a champion and it’s all up to Disney to advance their game. Disney+Hostar will update the current platform, making India the only sector in which Disney Plus will be hyphenated. Disney‘s content is also very common in the United States, but not in many parts of the globe. It sounds like a foolproof strategy to create a solid foothold to present it in front of a mainstream audience.
–Disney has priced the strategy very strategically. As follows, the three proposals are:
– VIP Plan-INR 399 per year, including specials from Hotstar, live sports, all Indian movies, Marvel movies, content in local languages.
– Premium Plan-INR 1,499 a year, including the VIP bundle, originals from Disney+, all content in the English language, including HBO, Fox, and Showtime.
– Free service-Disney Plus originals will be ad-supported and will not be available. (The free pack contains match highlights, IPL, BCCI cricket series, Premier League, ISL, and PKL key individual performances and match analysis, access in eight languages to some daily TV shows, movies, and on-demand news).
– Current Users: Before the end of your contract, Hotstar VIP and Hotstar Premium customers will not incur any extra costs.
However, for Disney+Hostar VIP and INR 1,499 annually for Disney+ Hotstar Premium, the new subscribers will have to pay an extra-INR 399 annually. Such plans were previously valid for INR 365 and INR 999, respectively.
*In Whose Court Is the Ball?
Netflix is still hanging on to their high-price model, which still reveals that the Indian OTT market has not been hanging everywhere yet. Even though Disney already has an edge at the top of the game with Hotstar. Disney+Hotstar is playing an ad-supported service now, it doesn’t look like any time soon Netflix will follow this theme. The high price places Netflix in the backseat because Amazon is trying to set Hotstar-like marks. Chinese firms, iQiyi, and WeTV have also debuted in India recently. They sell ad-supported and premium services free of charge, and it will be fascinating to see how they play out among the masses. The new platforms are preparing to come up with originals from India and seem to have funding to do the same. Given that Chinese content is gaining worldwide popularity, it could work in favor of them.
The thing with the population of India is that for everybody, every platform offers something or another. This ensures that even though they do not control the industry, they will still perform well and support themselves. Having said that, this holds Hotstar at the top, making them the chief, and soon they will not be detached. With the launch of Disney Plus on Friday-lockout, work from home, stuff is sailing in their favor. This advantage would be a major win for Disney if everything goes as planned, and a perfect movie for their all-over business move.