Mouse House streamer Disney Plus went live in India on Wednesday, 18 days before the previously announced launch date of March 29.
Disney’s existing Indian streamer Hotstar app was rebranded as Disney Plus Hotstar on Android and iOS. The Disney Plus Hotstar branding was in addition to the platform’s existing bouquet of TV, movies, news, sports and other premium content.
On Wednesday, a wealth of Disney, Marvel, National Geographic and Disney Originals became available to stream on the platform.
These included “The World According to Jeff Goldblum,” “The Mandalorian,” “Diary of a Future President,” “Dumbo,” “The Avengers,” “One Day at Disney” and “High School Musical: The Musical – The Series.”
In addition to English, much of the content was available dubbed in the Hindi, Tamil and Telugu languages, including “Free Solo,” “Kim Possible,” “Captain America: Civil War,” “Avengers: Endgame,” “A Bug’s Life,” “DuckTales,” “The Lion King” and “Star Wars Rebels.”
On Thursday, the service reverted to being just Hotstar, with the Disney Plus branding and content removed.
“A limited release of the beta version of the Disney Plus Hotstar app is currently being tested with a small number of consumers, in preparation for the full-fledged app launch on 29th March,” a Hotstar spokesperson told Variety.
A Disney Plus Hotstar Premium subscription is currently priced at INR 299 ($4.05) a month or INR 999 ($13.55) a year.
Uday Shankar, president of the Walt Disney Company Asia Pacific and chairman for Star and Disney India, is expected to reveal further details at an event in Mumbai on Friday.
With more than 300 million monthly active users, Hotstar is the leading streamer in India by some distance. Disney Plus Hotstar launches in a fiercely competitive market with some 30 popular players including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, ALTBalaji, Zee5, Sony Liv, Voot, Eros Now, MX Player, Hoichoi, Sun NXT and Mubi.
The Indian streaming market is growing at 22% and will reach a value of $1.6 billion by 2023, according to a 2019 PwC industry report.