Walt Disney Co. DIS is preparing to shut down the U.S. version of its Hotstar streaming service and will divide its content between ESPN+ and Hulu.
What Happened: Hotstar was launched by Star India in February 2015 and was acquired by Disney through its purchase of 21st Century Fox in March 2019. The streaming service focused on Bollywood and South Asian films and programming and cricket matches.
Disney rebranded the service Disney+ Hotstar in 2020 and has offered different programming versions in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
The company plans to end the U.S. platform in late 2022, with its entertainment programming being rescheduled to Hulu and its sports offerings going to ESPN+. The Disney+ service will not absorb any of Hotstar’s titles and the international versions of Hotstar will not be impacted.
Why It Matters: Hotstar comprises approximately 40% of the 116 million Disney+ subscribers. Hotstar subscription in the U.S. costs $49.99 per year, whereas the Disney streaming bundle — consisting of Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu — has subscription levels starting at $13.99 per month.
Beginning Sept. 1, Hotstar’s U.S. subscribers who don’t have other Disney streaming services will be eligible to receive the Disney Bundle through the end of their Hotstar annual subscription at no additional charge.
“The move from Hotstar, a premium brand for South Asian content, to ESPN Plus and Hulu in the U.S. expands upon the rich and diverse catalog of live events and stories delivered across the Disney Bundle and provides a platform for South Asian content to reach broader audiences,” said the company in a press statement.
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