Last Updated: 11.21 AM, May 17, 2023
Disney+ Hotstar has announced a new original Mathagam that will stream in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali and Marathi.
In June 2022, Walt Disney spent ₹23,575 crore to buy television broadcast rights for the IPL tournament for five years, beginning 2023, but gave up the coveted digital media rights to Viacom18 that bid a staggering ₹23,758 crore.
Apart from the IPL, the platform has stopped streaming tens of popular international content. Starting 31 March, Disney Star has removed 144 HBO originals as the company decided against extending its longstanding content deal with Warner Bros. Discovery, a global media and entertainment company and the parent firm of HBO. Over the past few months, the platform’s growth rate has, therefore, slowed. In the December quarter of 2022, its subscriber count, globally, dipped to 57.5 million from 61.3 million earlier. India accounts for the majority of its subscribers.
This pivot hinges on a multi-pronged strategy. First, and most critically, Disney+ Hotstar wants to build on local originals whose intellectual property resides solely with Disney, across multiple Indian languages. Second, it wishes to utilize the shelf life of television programming from Star India’s satellite TV channels, such as Star Plus, Star Vijay and others. Third, it is likely to reiterate the draw of original Disney content—including Marvel, Star Wars and Pixar franchises—to satiate the demand for international programming. Fourth, it hopes to cash in on the pull of movies, both streamed directly on the Hotstar platform or acquired post their theatrical release. Last, the strategy is to stack up on a sports portfolio. There is no IPL, but the platform still has other premium cricket, football and tennis properties.
Further, the company has announced a reduction of workforce by 7,000; it is targeting $5.5 billion in cost savings across verticals, including $3 billion in savings on the content side alone, excluding sports.