Walt Disney to launch streaming service in India on Friday


FILE PHOTO: A man looks at his phone as he passes by a screen advertising Walt Disney’s streaming service Disney+ in New York City, U.S., November 12, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) will launch its Disney+ service in India on April 3, the company said on Tuesday, intensifying rivalry with Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) and Amazon.com Inc’s (AMZN.O) Prime Video in a country where demand for online streaming is surging.

Disney+ will be launched with local partner Hotstar, one of India’s key streaming players that played host to HBO super hit show ‘Game of Thrones’.

Disney, which acquired Hotstar after its purchase of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc, previously delayed the launch of the service due to uncertainty around the timing of India’s Twenty20 cricket league, which has now been postponed until April 15 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Hostar’s parent Star India has the exclusive digital and TV broadcast rights to the cricket league.

The Disney+ Hotstar service will be available in three plans – a basic, ad-supported free plan, a second-rung plan priced at 399 Indian rupees ($5.29) a year and the most expensive at an annual 1,499 rupees ($19.88), which will gives subscribers access to Disney+ original shows as well as American shows from studios such as HBO, Fox and Showtime.

The most expensive plan is a 500-rupee mark-up from Hotstar’s premium plan.

Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal, editing by Louise Heavens and Susan Fenton

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