Swinging for the fences in India
The service will launch in several European countries on March 24 and another pan-European wave over the summer. Between these launch events, Disney+ will hit the Indian market on March 29 through the leading digital video provider in that massive market -- a Disney subsidiary known as Hotstar, brought in as a part of the $71 billion Fox buyout last year.
Disney-owned Hotstar was the second-most popular streaming video app in India according to a survey by mobile industry analyst firm App Annie. Over 50% of Indian smartphone users had the Hotstar app installed at the end of 2018. Both Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Amazon Prime (NASDAQ:AMZN) trailed Hotstar in both of these market-size comparisons, despite both companies placing an intense focus on winning in the Indian market.
This launch brings the entire Disney+ catalog to Hotstar's premium subscription tiers, just ahead of the Indian Premier League cricket season. Hotstar holds the streaming rights to IPL cricket matches, which provides a spectacular launch platform for the incoming Disney+ content.
A cricket-powered marketing push
Amazon and Netflix are playing catch-up in this key market and global entertainment titan Disney is about to block their efforts by exploiting the fruits of that huge Fox deal.
"We see this as a great opportunity to use the proven platform of Hotstar to launch the new Disney+ service in one of the most populous countries and fastest-growing economies in the world," Disney CEO Bob Iger said.