Mumbai: The Walt Disney Company SVP and CFO Christine McCarthy said that Disney+ Hotstar owes a large part of its success to live cricket, but the Indian streaming giant's entertainment content is underappreciated. The Disney executive was addressing the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference 2022 on Tuesday.
"India is a big market. There's a lot of focus on the IPL. Disney+ Hotstar users enjoy the current IPL sports program on the platform. But they also enjoy a lot of other sports programming, whether it's other cricket rights, other international sports. Something that's very underappreciated is the amount of general entertainment and the quality of that entertainment and viewership in the Indian market," McCarthy told Morgan Stanley analyst Ben Swinburne.
She further added, "In 2021, of the 15 top viewed series on direct-to-consumer, nine of those came from Disney+ Hotstar. So, there's content that people are going to view just like here in the United States, a lot of people view sports, sports is something that's a very popular type of content to consume, but they also consume other types of content. And, so, when you think about the number of hours and the quality of the content that is being produced in the Disney+ Hotstar originals, that's something we're very proud of. And we think that that will continue to make that business one that consumers will engage in.”
When asked if Disney+ would be able to achieve its 2024 guidance, McCarthy stated, “I know some people were skeptical on our last earnings call when we said that we could still make our guidance and this actually related to something in India regarding the IPL. But we feel good about where we are with that 230 million to 260 million Disney+ subscribers by 2024.”
The Disney executive also said that the company is not only looking at subscriber growth but also profitability. "And we like those two because we think it injects the right kind of tension for really managing the business. We're driving towards that, and we feel really good because of the content that we have; the brands we have, the intellectual property we have to work with. And once again, we're learning more."