The much-awaited launch of the Disney+ Hotstar streaming platform in India has been delayed. This has been confirmed by Hotstar, which cites the delay in the start of the newest season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket season because of the Coronavirus pandemic around the world. Earlier this month, Hotstar had rolled out the updated version of its app for Android phones, Android TV devices as well as the Apple iPhone and iPad to gear up for the launch of the Disney+ service as part of the Hotstar package. At the time, certain Disney+ content had also been made available to Hotstar subscribers, as part of the Hotstar VIP and Hotstar Premium subscriptions. It was expected that Disney+ would roll out in India on March 29.
“We recently announced that Disney+ would launch in India through the Hotstar service in conjunction with beginning of the Indian Premier League cricket season. Given the delay of the season, we have made the decision to briefly pause the roll-out of Disney+ and will announce a new revised premiere date for the service soon,” says Uday Shankar, President - The Walt Disney Company APAC and Chairman, Star & Disney India, in a statement shared with News18.
The Hotstar VIP subscription includes live sports streaming on the platform, as well as access to all Hotstar Specials, and original content. The sports streaming includes all cricket matches that Hotstar has the rights to stream, including the Indian Premier League (IPL) T20 cricket tournament, as well as the English Premier League football and Formula 1. The Star India content will include programs from channels including Star Plus, Life OK, Star Bharat, and Star Utsav. At the moment, Hotstar VIP is only available as an annual subscription pack, though we could get a monthly subscription option too at some point. The Hotstar Premium subscription costs Rs 299 per month or Rs 999 per year and includes all content on the platform.
At Rs 365 for an entire year, the Hotstar VIP subscription plan is among the most inexpensive annual subscription plan among all streaming services in India. For instance, Amazon charges Rs 129 per month or Rs 999 per year for the Prime subscription that also includes Amazon Video. Netflix subscription options start at Rs 500 per month and there is no annual subscription option. Among the Indian streaming services that also let you stream some Live TV channels as Hotstar also does, Sony Liv charges Rs 499 per year for the premium pack, while Zee5 will cost Rs 999 per year for the All Access Pack.
In India, Disney+ Hotstar will go into battle with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Zee5, Sony Liv and Voot. At this time, Netflix currently offers four subscription plans in India—the mobile-only plan is priced at Rs 199 per month, the single-screen plan for Rs 499 per month, the two screens subscription for Rs 649 per month while the top-tier Ultra HD 4K four screen plan costs Rs 799 per month.