The way we watch video content has drastically changed by some of the most famous streaming giants. For a long time, Netflix ruled the online streaming industry and still does. However, with the developing online streaming market and constant Covid-19 lockdowns, tons of new streaming services have sprouted up, accelerating the consumer demand for such services.
One of the biggest names in the industry, Disney has now planned to change the business strategy of its streaming properties. The company has decided to close down its Hotstar platform in the United States.
It is worth noting that Hotstar is extremely popular amongst cricket fans and is one of the best and most reliable platforms to view live cricket matches and South Asian content in America.
Disney’s decision is to move its sports and entertainment programs from Hotstar to ESPN+ and Hulu in the U.S. market. The idea behind this move is to make Hotstar subscribers switch over to the Disney Bundle.
The Mouse House isn’t acting on this decision immediately, but it plans to fully phase out Hotstar from the U.S. in the later months of 2022. However, no specific date has been announced as of yet, so fans are still waiting. Disney acquired Star India, which operates Hotstar around the world, when it bought 21st Century Fox.
From the 1st of September, subscribers of Hotstar in the U.S. will be eligible to get the Disney Bundle (Disney Plus, Hulu, ESPN Plus) at no additional cost once their annual subscription for Hotstar ends.
Disney claims that shutting down Hotstar is a win-win situation for its U.S. customers, the company said in a statement,
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 catalogue of live events and stories delivered across the Disney Bundle and provides a platform for South Asian content to reach broader audiences.
The bundle offered by Disney in the U.S. will have all the content from Hotstar, including all the content available on Disney Plus, ESPN Plus, and Hulu. This means there will be ample movies, series, originals, and all the sporting events that the service previously offered. Hotstar in the U.S. costs $49.99 per year, whereas the bundle will only cost $13.99 per month.
The main point of attraction for subscribing to Hotstar for viewers is the live cricket matches that it broadcasts. However, even with Hotstar being phased out, cricket lovers don’t have to worry as ESPN+ will be the new home for that. It will be offering live cricket events from the VIVO IPL, the International Cricket Council (ICC) Men’s T20 World Cup, and BCCI home tours for the India national team. In 2022, all 62 matches of the IPL season will stream live on ESPN Plus, beginning in March. That will augment the cricket lineup on ESPN Plus, which includes more than 100 Cricket New Zealand matches over the next six years and 100-plus West Indies Cricket matches over the next five years.
On the other hand, all the Bollywood and South Asian movies and TV series will be rolled on to Hulu. Those who do not want to avail Disney’s bundle offer can request a refund; however, they must do it before the 30th of September. Customers who have subscribed to more than one Disney service will, by default, get their refunds from their annual Hotstar subscription.