Home/ News / India/  With no IPL, HBO; will there be enough sting left for Disney+ Hotstar?

Disney+ Hotstar will no longer stream any of the HBO shows come April 2023. This news has caused an outcry among subscribers who have taken to social media to express their shock and anger. This is the second major blow for the streaming platform as it lost the Indian Premier League (IPL) rights in 2022, which cost the company close to four million subscribers.

The move aligns with Disney CEO Bob Iger's $5.5-billion cost-cutting and restructuring blueprint. HBO has always made the kind of shows that get people talking, with Game of Thrones, Succession and The Last of Us being prime examples. This has made it a favourite among TV lovers. Losing access to those shows feels like losing a sense of essential TV history.

Disney's handling of its film and TV assets since taking over 21st Century Fox has been a topic of concern. Searchlight titles like Tree of Life, The Favourite and The Wrestler have been neglected while less significant productions like the Ed Sheeran documentary have been given prominence.

Also Read: Disney+Hotstar to stop streaming HBO content

Hotstar hosted The French Dispatch without fanfare, and Death on the Nile received a theatrical release, whereas The Banshees of Inisherin and Prey did not. Pixar's Turning Red was released directly to streaming, while Atlanta is absent from Hotstar's selection of FX and Hulu titles. Justified and Fargo are only available on Amazon Prime Video.

From a business perspective, negotiating licensing deals with rivals building their own streaming services is akin to cannibalising. However, having a steady stream of licensed content remains valuable. Some subscribers are not interested in catching the latest shows everyone is raving about on social media. They prefer to re-watch old and familiar shows.

Also Read: No Game of Thrones: Netizens react to HBO content leaving Disney+Hotstar

In addition to being known for IPL, Hotstar has been popular for its HBO and FX series, and subscribers often found it easy to navigate since they already knew what they were looking for. The luxury of being able to watch their favourite shows any time they wanted meant they were more willing to excuse the bad web design. However, with the loss of HBO, this advantage is no longer available.

Hotstar's decision not to renew the licensing rights for HBO content could be a move to keep the content on Hotstar more family-friendly. This would fit in with Disney's brand identity, which has been moving towards a more family-friendly image.

Sounak Mukhopadhyay
Sounak Mukhopadhyay, who also goes by the name Sounak Mukherjee, has been producing digital news since 2012. He's worked for the International Business Times, The Inquisitr, and Moneycontrol in the past. He's also contributed to Free Press Journal and TheRichest with feature articles. He covers news for a wide range of subjects including business, finance, economy, politics and social media. Before working with digital news publications, he worked as a freelance content writer.
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Updated: 29 Mar 2023, 07:39 AM IST
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