NEW DELHI: Media and entertainment conglomerate Walt Disney has deferred the launch of its video streaming platform Disney+ Hotstar in India that was slated for 29 March.
Earlier this month, Hotstar, the video streaming service of Star network, was rebranded as Disney+ Hotstar ahead of the launch Disney+ before the start of Indian Premier League (IPL). The erstwhile black and yellow logo of Hotstar was replaced by a royal blue and white for Disney+ Hotstar.
As a precautionary measure against COVID-19 outbreak, the Board of Control for Cricket in India has postponed the IPL till 15 April.
"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," Uday Shankar, president, The Walt Disney Company APAC and chairman, Star and Disney India, said in a statement.
Walt Disney had acquired Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox Inc. in a $71 billion cash and stock deal in June 2018. That makes Star India, Fox Star Studios and Hotstar in India a part of Walt Disney.
Mint had earlier reported that Hotstar plans to localise Disney+ movies and shows by dubbing or adding subtitles in Indian languages, including Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. Hotstar’s own original content titled Hotstar Specials are currently available in seven Indian languages.
Disney+ debuted in the US in November, with content bundled from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic. According to media reports, it registered more than 10 million sign-ups in a little more than a day and 28.6 million subscribers in less than three months. Priced at $6.99 per month and $69.99 per year, the service offers original shows like space western The Mandalorian that is set in the Star Wars universe, documentary series The World According to Jeff Goldblum, mockumentary High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, besides movies like Lady and the Tramp, Noelle, Purl, Float and Kitbull. Classics such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Miracle on 34th Street, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Recess and the X-Men animated series are also available on the platform.
Disney+ is said to be the company’s big bet on video streaming and an answer to content platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, ZEE5 and many others currently operational in India.