The study, published by consultancy Media Partners Asia, presents a base case scenario under which Disney Plus Hotstar’s revenue will grow from an annual $216 million last year to $902 million by 2025. That is despite forecast contraction to $175 million in 2020, due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
Hotstar – established under 20th Century Fox before it was acquired by Disney – operated a mixed business model, incorporating free tiers for the mass market and premium levels available to paying subscribers. That model has been retained as the platform was relaunched at the end of March as Disney Plus Hotstar.
Media Partners Asia suggests that subscription will continue to account for the larger proportion of Disney Plus Hotstar’s revenues, and that the recent relaunch contributes a reinforcement of the subscription proposition, even in the absence of IPL cricket, which in a normal year would have been a key driver. Media Partners Asia says Disney has contributed “meaningfully” to the expanded platform by contributing new local originals and a massive library of local and international content.
For 2020 Media Partners Asia forecasts $104 million of subscription revenue and $74 million of advertising. By 2025, its base case scenario looks for $587 million of subscription and $314 million of advertising.
Key to hitting those targets are that: all major cricket events resume, even in shortened form this year; that the group retains cricket rights until 2025; that Disney Plus Hotstar transitions into a super-aggregator with global and local entertainment; and that it reduces telco-linked distribution.
Average revenue per user in India remains low by global standards. But Disney Plus Hotstar is not alone in offering lower prices in India. For 2020, Media Partners Asia forecasts that Disney Plus Hotstar will have 18 million paying subscribers, making it narrowly the market leader ahead of Amazon Prime Video with 17 million. Netflix, it estimates, could finish the year with 5 million subs in India.