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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Disney Folding Hotstar into ESPN+, Hulu in U.S.

  • Disney is folding its Hotstar streaming service into ESPN+ and Hulu in the U.S.
  • It will remain a standalone service in India.
Hotstar/Design: Alex Brooks

Cricket is coming to ESPN+ in the U.S., as Disney is folding Hotstar into its other streaming services. 

Hotstar’s sports content, namely the hugely popular Indian Premier League, will migrate to ESPN+, while its Bollywood movies and shows will move to Hulu. 

The move comes amid chatter that Disney could one day consolidate Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu into one service. The three are currently available separately, or as a package called the “Disney bundle” for $13.99 per month. Hotstar costs $49.99 per year.

  • Hotstar’s U.S. presence is small, with only 0.04% market share among the top 100 streaming services in the U.S. in the first half of this year, according to Sensor Tower.
  • In India, where it will remain a standalone service, it had a 29% market share of all new downloads among streaming video apps.
  • Disney’s streaming services collectively had just under 174 million subscribers through its fiscal third quarter. Its direct-to-consumer revenues rose 57% year-over-year to $4.3 billion, but that company segment was still $300 million in the red. 

The move will bring all of Disney’s cricket matches under one service: ESPN+ already shows Cricket New Zealand and West Indies Cricket. 

Cricket is Hotstar’s most watched content. The first 17 matches of the 2021 Indian Premier League drew an average of 105 million unique television viewers.

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