Combined Disney+ Hotstar service to launch in India on April 3

Disney-owned Indian media conglomerate Star India has confirmed the upgrade of its existing Hotstar streaming service to Disney+ Hotstar on April 3, 2020.

The new service combines Disney content with Hotstar’s current offerings of Indian and English-language films and TV programming, Hotstar originals and sporting events, including the hugely popular Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament. Hotstar is currently India’s biggest streaming service with more than 300 million monthly active users.

Disney+ Hotstar was originally scheduled to launch on March 29, to coincide with the start of the IPL season, but was slightly delayed when the tournament’s start date was pushed back to April 15. (With India currently in lockdown, it remains unclear if the IPL can still go ahead as planned.)

The service will be available in two pricing tiers – Disney+ Hotstar VIP and Disney+ Hotstar Premium – as well as a free ad-supported tier.

Disney+ Hotstar VIP will provide access to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Indian films, Hotstar originals, Star TV series and live sports for $5.30 (Rs399) a year.

Subscribers to Disney+ Hotstar Premium, paying $20 (Rs1,499) annually, will also have all this content, as well as access to 29 Disney+ originals, including The Mandalorian, and shows from Hotstar’s content partners HBO, Showtime and Fox.

Uday Shankar, president, The Walt Disney Company APAC, said: “Today, as we unveil Disney+ Hotstar, we take yet another momentous step in staying committed to our promise of delivering high-quality impactful stories for India that have not only entertained but also made a difference in people’s lives, a promise that is even more meaningful in challenging times such as this.”

“We hope the power of Disney’s storytelling, delivered through Hotstar’s technology, will help our viewers find moments of comfort, happiness and inspiration during these difficult times.”

As a prelude to the launch, Disney+ Hotstar will stream a virtual red carpet premiere of The Lion King on April 2, followed by an episode of The Mandalorian.