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Disney+ Hotstar has about 8 million subscribers

We finally know just about how many subscribers Hotstar has amassed over the years in India. “Approximately 8 million.”

Disney said on Wednesday that its eponymous streaming service has hit 50 million subscribers, nearly 8 million of whom are in India, where it launched its service atop of Hotstar this month.

Five-year-old Hotstar is the most popular on-demand streaming service in India with more than 300 million users. The service and its operator, Indian network Star India, were picked up by Disney as part of its $71 billion deal with Fox last year.

For years, people in the industry have been curious about Hotstar’s premium subscriber base to no luck. Best estimates suggested it had about 1.5 million to 2 million subscribers. Executives at rival firms have expected that figure to be lower.

In fact, a months-long analysis conducted by one streaming firm in India concluded recently that there were 2 million paying subscribers for music and video services. So 8 million is a huge milestone.

But ARPU that Disney is generating from those 8 million subscriber is far lower. Disney+ Hotstar is available in India for a yearly subscription cost of about $20. The service also offers a lower-cost tier that costs under $5.5 a year.

“I think everyone is still trying to sort out the right pricing. It’s true the average Indian consumer is used to far lower prices and can’t afford more. However, we need to focus on the consumers likely to buy this, who have the requisite broadband access and income, etc,” Matthew Ball, former head of strategic planning for Amazon Studios, told TechCrunch in a recent conversation.

More to follow…

Disney+ Hotstar has about 8 million subscribers

We finally know just about how many subscribers Hotstar has amassed over the years in India. “Approximately 8 million.”

Disney said on Wednesday that its eponymous streaming service has hit 50 million subscribers, nearly 8 million of whom are in India, where it launched its service atop of Hotstar this month.

Five-year-old Hotstar is the most popular on-demand streaming service in India with more than 300 million users. The service and its operator, Indian network Star India, were picked up by Disney as part of its $71 billion deal with Fox last year.

For years, people in the industry have been curious about Hotstar’s premium subscriber base to no luck. Best estimates suggested it had about 1.5 million to 2 million subscribers. Executives at rival firms have expected that figure to be lower.

In fact, a months-long analysis conducted by one streaming firm in India concluded recently that there were 2 million paying subscribers for music and video services. So 8 million is a huge milestone.

But ARPU that Disney is generating from those 8 million subscriber is far lower. Disney+ Hotstar is available in India for a yearly subscription cost of about $20. The service also offers a lower-cost tier that costs under $5.5 a year.

“I think everyone is still trying to sort out the right pricing. It’s true the average Indian consumer is used to far lower prices and can’t afford more. However, we need to focus on the consumers likely to buy this, who have the requisite broadband access and income, etc,” Matthew Ball, former head of strategic planning for Amazon Studios, told TechCrunch in a recent conversation.

More to follow…

Disney+ has more than 50M subscribers

The Walt Disney Company just announced that its streaming service Disney+ has more than 50 million subscribers.

The service launched less than five months ago, and apparently had 28.6 million subscribers as of February 3.

These “paid subscriber” numbers include subscribers who are bringing in revenue for Disney but are not paying for the service themselves. (TechCrunch’s parent company Verizon is offering a year of free Disney+ to some customers.) It also includes 8 million subscribers in India, where Disney+ launched last week as part of Hotstar, a popular streaming service that Disney owns thanks to the acquisition of Fox.

While Disney has been relatively slow to release scripted streaming originals after the initial splash of “The Mandalorian,” it has been bringing its films like “Frozen 2,” “Onward” and the upcoming “Artemis Fowl” to the service at an accelerated pace, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting theatrical closures.

The service has also been expanding internationally, launching in eight Western European counties — the U.K., Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria and Switzerland — in the past two weeks.

“We’re truly humbled that Disney+ is resonating with millions around the globe, and believe this bodes well for our continued expansion throughout Western Europe and into Japan and all of Latin America later this year,” said Kevin Mayer, the chairman of Disney’s direct-to-consumer and international business, in a statement.

In its latest earnings report, Netflix (which is far more global than Disney+ right now) said it has 167 million paid memberships worldwide.