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Disney Plus Hotstar India Expected to Hit 46 Million Subscribers by December 2021, Says Report

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Current streaming market leader Disney Plus Hotstar will continue its sway over India with 46 million subscribers by the end of December, according to a report by leading research firm Media Partners Asia.

The streamer currently has around 34 million subscribers in India, which constitutes almost a third of global Disney Plus subscribers (103.6 million), per their last earnings results in May 2021.

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The report, titled “The Future of India’s Online Video Market,” notes that together, Disney Plus Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video India and Netflix account for an 80% market share of subscribers and revenues in 2021.

“Disney Plus Hotstar’s recent price hike of 25% on its base plan is justified given the value of its upcoming slate of premium sport and local original content,” the report notes. “Restrictions on device access could create friction for consumers though pricing power will improve after 2022.”

Disney Plus Hotstar recently unveiled a slate of star-studded Indian programming and revealed to Variety that they would bid to retain rights for the Indian Premier League cricket tournament a prime audience draw for the service. “We expect Disney, Amazon, Facebook, Jio and Sony to be jockeying for pole position,” the report said, referring to the upcoming battle for Indian cricket rights in 2022.

Elsewhere, the report forecast that India will have one billion video screens by 2024 with 85% of them broadband ready. It expects the streaming industry to invest $1 billion in content in 2021, with acquired and commissioned local originals accounting for 30% of this pie, a share that is forecast to increase to 40-45% in the future.

India currently has 57 million streaming subscribers, a number that will grow to 89 million by the end of 2021, the report predicts. It also forecasts that direct to consumer SVOD subscribers will grow to 193 million by 2026. SVOD revenues are expected to grow from $800 million in 2021 to more than $1.8 billion by 2026.

“SVOD global entrants in the market from 2022 onwards include potential services from HBO and Comcast while we expect further recalibration to drive growth at Sony and Zee,” the report concludes.

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