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Disney+ Hotstar accounts form majority of net subscriber additions for Disney+ in Q3 FY2021

The Walt Disney Company ended Q3 FY2022 with 116 million global paid subscribers to Disney+, up from approximately 104 million in the second quarter. The media conglomerate announced these figures during an earnings call with analysts for its third fiscal quarter ended July 3, 2021.

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Disney+ Hotstar accounted for the majority of its net subscriber additions between Q2 and Q3, making up a little less than 40 per cent of the total Disney+ subscriber base as of the end of the third quarter, Christine McCarthy — Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer said.

According to Disney CEO Bob Chapek, subscriber growth in various Disney+ markets was boosted by “numerous breakout hits” from brands, including Pixar’s Luca and Marvel’s Loki and the Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

According to McCarthy, subscriber growth was also solid at its core Disney+ markets, excluding Disney+ Hotstar, with total quarter-over-quarter net adds in those markets consistent with net adds from Q2.

Disney+ Hotstar launched on April 3, 2020 in India (as a conversion of the pre-existing Hotstar service), on September 5, 2020 in Indonesia, on June 1, 2021 in Malaysia, and on June 30, 2021 in Thailand.

Disney+’s overall ARPU (average revenue per user) this quarter was higher excluding Disney+Hotstar at $6.12, as compared to $4.16 including the platform, an increase of about $0.50 versus the second quarter. This was owing to the recent price increases, both domestically and abroad.

Hike in ad revenue
However, Disney+ Hotstar ARPU also increased from Q2 to Q3 due to “higher ad revenue per subscriber reflecting the roughly four weeks of IPL matches that were played in Q3,” McCarthy added.

The Indian Premier League has been a major growth driver for Disney+Hotstar in India. Apart from IPL, the platform’s content library including local programming has also been an important factor. “If you think about Disney+ Hotstar, IPL is certainly a very important component of the offerings, but it’s only one because we also have a very broad portfolio of general entertainment as well as other sports,” said McCarthy.

“It has a lot of original content — library content in it from all of the Disney+ brands and IP. And we added over 18,000 of original local programming every year,” she said. “So we feel really good about not only the IPL but also Star — Hotstar+,” she added.

Most recently, the video streaming player announced that it will be launching new content in India in the coming months which includes local original content, as well as continuing live streams for major sporting events such as Vivo IPL 2021 and the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup scheduled to happen in the next six months.

The platform is also expanding its subscription offering in the country with three new subscription plans. Starting September 1, users can choose from three new subscription plans namely- Mobile for ₹499 per year, which will be a single device plan; Super for ₹899 per year, which will give access to two devices, and Premium for ₹1,499 per year, which will give access to four devices.

Expansion
Disney is further expanding its streaming platform with Disney+ Hotstar expected to launch in the Philippines later in 2021. It has also continued to launch Disney+ in new markets around the world.

In Japan, where Disney+ is currently available in a limited capacity, it will expand the platform to the full market in late October, followed by additional APAC markets, including South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong in mid-November. The launch of Disney+ in Eastern Europe has been moved from late 2021 to summer of 2022, primarily to allow for an expanded footprint that will include parts of the Middle East and South Africa, Chapek said. The Hindu BusinessLine

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