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Hotstar accounts for 37% of Disney+’s overall subscriptions as user base dips

New Delhi: Disney+, the video streaming service owned by the Walt Disney Co. said Hotstar accounted for around 37% of its overall subscriber base at the end of the September quarter. 

Disney+ has reported 118 million paid subscribers globally, so Hotstar users would be around 43.6 million. For April-June quarter, Disney+ had reported 116 million paid subscribers with 46 million coming from Hotstar.

Figures for Hotstar also include users from Malaysia and Thailand where the service launched earlier this year besides coming from India and Indonesia where it was already present.

“Disney+ Hotstar subscriptions decreased versus the prior quarter and accounted for about 37% of our total Disney+ paid subscriber base as of the end of the fourth quarter. The ARPU (average revenue per user) for Hotstar on a linked quarter basis from Q3 to Q4 this year, has decreased, and that was a result of lower per subscriber advertising revenue because there were fewer IPL (Indian Premier League) matches this year. In Q4, there were only 18, and the number was around 29 in Q3,” Christine Mccarthy, senior executive vice-president and chief financial officer at Disney said during an earnings call. Mccarthy added that the draw of content in India goes beyond the IPL to other general entertainment properties.

Overall, Disney+’s global subscriber base has grown 60% this financial year that ended September. The service aims to be profitable by 2024, the company said. The average monthly revenue per paid subscriber for Disney+ decreased from $4.52 to $4.12 due to a higher mix of Disney+ Hotstar subscribers in the current quarter compared to the prior-year quarter, the firm said in a statement.

Novi Digital Entertainment Private Limited, which runs Hotstar, now a part of Walt Disney India, reported a net loss of Rs. 601 crore for FY 2020-21, a 66 % increase from the previous fiscal year, according to data accessed by business intelligence platform Tofler last month. Further, revenue for the year stood at ₹1,704 crore, a 5% jump compared to last year, while total expenses for the fiscal were reported as Rs. 2,305 crore.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek said during the earnings call that the company that has nine theatrical releases slated for the first quarter of fiscal 2022 has preached flexibility in terms of making decisions on distribution as it recovers from the pandemic and in the mix of changing consumer behaviour. 

“The extent to which we had a number of titles going to theatrical will eventually go to Disney+, but what we’re seeing is some recovery of the theatrical exhibition marketplace, which is a good thing, for not only Disney but also for the industry, and because most of the franchises that we’ve had, have been built through the theatrical exhibition channel of distribution. At the same time, we’re carefully watching different types of movies to see how various demographics of that market come back,” Chapek added.

 

 

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