Disney+ Hotstar might lose more than a quarter of its subscribers in 2023 as a result of Bob Iger’s $5.5 billion cost-cutting initiative. Subscriptions to the streaming service may drop precipitously as a result of losing the attention-grabbing Indian Premier League (IPL) and now HBO content.
Beginning on March 31, HBO content will no longer be available on Disney+ Hotstar, formerly known as just Hotstar in India. Game of Thrones, Succession, The Wire, and most recently The Last of Us were all available to Hotstar customers thanks to a partnership between Star India and HBO that began back in 2015.
All about Disney+ Hotstar Setbacks!
But, all of that will soon end, giving subscribers much heartburn. The first significant setback for Disney+ Hotstar was handing Mukesh Ambani’s Viacom18 the IPL streaming rights. Disney+ Hotstar’s subscriber base was instantly impacted by the loss of IPL rights. In the December quarter, the site lost 3.8 million subscribers, bringing the overall number of paying users to 57.5 million. By the end of 2023, this would increase the number of subscribers to Disney+ Hotstar to between 43 and 46 million.
Taurani asserts that some relief would be provided by the already-existing Star TV content library, the approaching T20 World Cup, and the successful Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixel franchises. Customers were incensed by the suspension of HBO content from its service and flocked to social media to express their indignation.
Some highly well-known shows including The Last of Us, Game of Thrones, Succession, and The Wire are among the highlights of HBO’s programming portfolio. Users expressed their anger over the cancellation of these programs. Several users reportedly refused to renew their subscriptions, while others requested refunds.
While firms like Disney and Netflix make their living by producing shows, movies, and other forms of content, rivals like Apple and Amazon have been investing money in their streaming services, Apple TV+ and Prime Video, using them as loss leaders to support their main businesses.
But, it is impractical in the long run for a firm like Disney, whose main business is content, to absorb losses. In order to fix the situation, the corporation called Bob Iger back from retirement. Iger’s first move was to present a $5.5 billion cost-cutting strategy.
Disney+ Hotstar users made an average monthly contribution of $0.74 per user, which is much less than the $5.95 contribution from Disney+ members in the US and Canada, even though the firm lost the Indian Premier League to Reliance’s Viacom18 before Iger was reinstated. There are just four countries where Disney+ Hotstar is accessible: India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.
Netflix claimed an average revenue per subscriber of $7.69 in the Asia Pacific area, making it far more expensive than Disney+ Hotstar in India. After a 25% price decrease, the most affordable subscription plan now starts at just ₹149 per month or ₹1,788 per year. The top-tier Netflix subscription has an annual cost of ₹7,788. The most costly Disney+ Hotstar package, in contrast, has an annual fee of $1,499. In essence, Netflix’s most basic package is still less expensive than Disney+ Hotstar’s most expensive plan.
Viacom18, on the other hand, will offer 4K streaming for free through the JioCinema app after purchasing the lucrative IPL streaming rights for ₹23,758 crores. According to Taurani, Disney+ Hotstar will succeed if it makes strong expenditures in unique content production. It must, however, appeal to subscribers who were previously accustomed to HBO’s well-known library.