Walt Disney Co said on Tuesday that content from its streaming service Hotstar — home to India’s IPL cricket tournament and original shows like “Aarya” — will migrate to its ESPN+ and Hulu streaming platforms in the United States. Disney, which has 174 million paying customers across its four streaming services, is looking to slowly consolidate its content into a Disney Bundle, which includes ESPN+, Hulu, Disney+ and more than 100,000 movies, TV episodes as well as sports events. Sports content from Hotstar will move to ESPN+, and Hotstar movies, as well as TV shows, will migrate to Hulu, which is home to series like “The Handmaid’s Tale”. A Hotstar annual subscription costs $49.99 per year, while the Disney Bundle, which starts at $13.99 per month, will cost subscribers at least $167.88 for a year. Hotstar users in the U.S. will receive a redemption code to avail an offer to shift their subscriptions to the entire Disney bundle, at no cost.
IPL Comes to ESPN+
Hotstar is popular in India as it streams Bollywood movies, local TV shows, and cricket tournaments. In the first half of 2021, the Hotstar mobile app had only about 0.04% market share of installs among the top 100 streaming services in the U.S, according to data analytics firm Sensor Tower. In cricket-crazy India, however, it had a 29% market share of all new downloads among the top 100 mobile streaming video-on-demand apps. The Indian Premier League (IPL), which has an estimated brand value of $6.8 billion, is the richest Twenty20 league and attracts many of the best players from around the world. The league’s fourteenth season was suspended on May 4 with 31 matches left to play after several players and backroom staff tested positive for COVID-19 amid a devastating second wave of infections in India. The remaining matches will stream on ESPN+ in the U.S. when the tournament resumes from Sept. 19.