Last month streaming platform Disney+ announced it would be officially launching in India on March 29th in conjunction with Indian streaming platform Hotstar, which is owned by Disney. However, presumably in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, Uday Shankar, the President of The Walt Disney Company APAC and Chairman, Star & Disney India has since issued a fresh statement, announcing the delay of the launch:
“We recently announced that Disney+ would launch in India through the Hotstar service in conjunction with beginning of the Indian Premier League cricket season. Given the delay of the season, we have made the decision to briefly pause the roll-out of Disney+ and will announce a new revised premiere date for the service soon.”
While we still don’t know the specifics of what the new platform will offer, earlier this month on March 11th a number of Hotstar users found themselves having access to a new interface as well as all of the Disney+ content. We now know the new platform will be known as Disney+Hotstar. The change for those users was rolled back within 24 hours with Hotstar confirming at the time that it is currently beta testing the new Disney+Hotstar app with select users.
The entertainment giant’s own streaming platform, Disney+, has been available in the US for some time now, having released its first wave of originals including its flagship Star Wars-spin off show The Mandalorian, original film Lady And The Tramp among many other films and series. Among them is the highly anticipated string of shows from the Marvel Cinematic Universe including WandaVision, Falcon And The Winter Soldier and Loki among others. Not to mention offering a centralised hub for all of the Disney-owned properties and franchises including the Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar universes and more, which select Hotstar users confirmed they had access to. One user claimed that content was available in English as well as local languages like Hindi, Tamil and Telugu and content was available to download.
It’s unclear at present whether Disney Plus will venture into original production in India and how this will impact Hotstar’s prices, currently pegged at Rs 999 a year or Rs 299 a month for its premium content. More information is set to come out once the new date of launch is finalised.