After a successful debut with 10 million subscribers in just 24 hours in the United States Canada and the Netherlands, Disney+ is already looking further ahead. Indeed, the streaming service of entertainment giant Disney intends to focus on Asia next year to accelerate its international development and thus overshadow the mastodon Netflix. The Walt Disney Company is targeting 60 to 90 million subscribers worldwide by 2024. By way of comparison, the market leader Netflix claims nearly 160 million paid subscribers worldwide, including 97 million outside the United States
To counter the Los Gatos firm, Disney+ will expand into India and several Southeast Asian countries from the second quarter of 2020, according to sources close to the dossier cited by TechCrunch. To invade the Indian market, Disney plans to introduce the catalogue of its new streaming platform, which offers around 500 films and 7,500 episodes of series, into Hotstar, a streaming service it has owned since it bought 21st Century Fox for $71.3 billion after the end of the cricket season, one of the most popular sports in India.
Hotstar, Disney’s cricket-driven platform in India
Launched in 2015, Hotstar currently dominates the Indian video streaming market. But unlike Netflix and other competing platforms in Europe and the United States it is not series and movies that are driving the user base. Indeed, Hotstar reported that it had more than 300 million monthly subscribers between May and July, the period corresponding to the start of the Indian Premier League cricket season and the Cricket world cup held in England and Wales. More than 25 million users followed one of the matches simultaneously during this period.
However, Hotstar’s user base drops below 60 million monthly subscribers after the cricket season. In this context, the arrival of original Disney content on Hotstar, which already offers a number of titles owned by the American firm in India, could boost the number of subscribers to the platform to keep it afloat after the cricket seasons. Hotstar is also available in the United States Canada and the United Kingdom
Netflix bets on “mobile-first” in India
However, competition has intensified in recent years with the entry of Amazon Prime Video Apple and Netflix into the Indian market. India represents a significant potential because of its 1.3 billion inhabitants and its video streaming market, which is growing by 22% a year and is expected to reach 1.5 billion dollars by 2023, according to PwC.
In this market, Netflix has taken a “mobile-first” approach with the launch of a $2.8/month offer that allows you to watch movies and series only in standard definition (480p) on a single smartphone. A very small amount compared to the subscriptions offered in Europe and the United States but still expensive compared to the competition in the country.
For its part, Disney plans to raise the subscription price to Hotstar in India, where the service currently costs $14 a year. By the end of the first half of 2020, just before the start of the next cricket season, the bill is expected to rise to $30 a year, more than double the current price.
Southeast Asia in the sights
Disney is not only targeting India to gain ground in the streaming market. The entertainment giant is also targeting Southeast Asia Indeed, Disney+ should also be launched in Indonesia and Malaysia, a particularly interesting market since more than 88% of Malaysians own a smartphone and 78% of Internet users in this Southeast Asian country, i.e. 32 million people, watch streaming videos and download multimedia content.
Although prices have not yet been finalized, the service is expected to cost more than $30 per year in this region of the world, which represents a pool of 600 million connected consumers. In the latter, Netflix is betting, as in India, on a 100% mobile offer, especially in Malaysia where the American giant has launched a monthly flat rate of 4 dollars this year. Previously, Netflix offers in India and other South East Asian countries did not fall below $7 per month.
To counter Netflix on a global scale, Disney will not only be able to rely on Disney+ and Hotstar. The entertainment giant also has the Hulu platform which has 28 million subscribers. A multi-platform offensive that could quickly bear fruit, given how popular the Disney catalogue (Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars…) is throughout the world. Pending the arrival of Disney+ in Asia, the streaming service will arrive next week in Australia and New Zealand, before being launched in several European countries, namely France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Spain, on 31 March 2020.