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Disney+Hotstar expected to end 2021 with over 50 million subscribers

Disney+ is expected to end the year with $1.2 billion in APAC

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KOLKATA: The growth of Disney+ has surpassed industry expectations globally and India has turned out to be the biggest contributor to its stellar performance. The streaming service is set to clock over $ 1.2 billion in revenue and 66 million paying subscribers in Asia Pacific (APAC) at the end of 2021, according to a report from Media Partners Asia (MPA).

The report states that Disney+ in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan is projected to have a blended monthly ARPU of $8.5 in 2021 with a subscription base of 7.5 million. On the other hand, the locations where it is combined with India’s Hotstar as Disney+Hotstar, will have a much higher subscription base but lower ARPU. It will net an estimated monthly ARPU of $1 and 59 million subscribers in December 2021 in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand.

In India, Disney+Hotstar works on a freemium model offering content across sports, local and regional entertainment, and premium Disney+ library. While India is expected to remain a major growth driver for overall Disney+, the rebranded Disney+Hotstar is projected to end 2021 with more than 50 million subscribers at low ARPUs and total revenues, including advertising & subscription, of $500 million, the report adds. However, how the growth story fares beyond 2021 will be dependent on important sports rights renewals.

As Star Network has a robust sports portfolio lined up for the year, Disney+Hotstar users will be also able to watch premium cricket leagues other than IPL 2021 including T20 World Cup, Asia Cup. Moreover, the streaming service is projected to increase its local content investment over 2021 with new local and regional originals.

“Cricket is an important part of our diversified programming strategy but we have local content and the IPL did offer a bump up but we have diversified content for them too which will help mitigate any churn,” The Walt Disney Co senior executive vice president CFO Christine Mcarthy on the investor call for Q1 2021 today.

Excluding Indian market, paying subscribers and revenues in Disney+ APAC are expected to reach 16 million and $700 million respectively. Subscriber growth in 2021 will be driven by Indonesia and Australia-New Zealand in addition to new launches in Korea, Malaysia and Thailand.

“Revenue growth will be driven by ANZ (bolstered by price increases with the rollout of Star under Disney+), Southeast Asia, Korea and Japan. Local content investment and recurring subscriber-based distribution partnerships with telcos and third parties will be critical to sustained growth in Korea, Indonesia and Japan,” the report reads.

The only Southeast Asian countries where Disney+ has launched so far are Singapore and Indonesia but the service is expected to drop in Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines within the year.

Additionally, the hike in price and availability of more general entertainment content thanks to Star launch will help Disney+ to contend with market leader Netflix in Australia-New Zealand.

As of Q1 ended 2 January 2021, Disney+Hotstar made up 30 per cent of Disney+ overall subscriber count of 94.9 million, The Walt Disney Co revealed. Average revenue per user for Disney+ was at $5.37 for the quarter excluding Disney+Hotstar, while it was $4.03 per sub, giving an average of $1.34 per sub for the Asian service. In India, the streamer is priced at Rs 399 per annum for its VIP service, and Rs 1,499 for Premium.

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