Launch of OTT platform Disney+ hotstar in India

“Watch TV Shows, Movies, Specials, Live Cricket & Football.” Disney Hotstar,
Research Question: To what extent has the launch of Disney+ hotstar, impacted Disney's market share in the Indian OTT market?
Session: May 2022


On 3rd April 2021, Disney+ launched in India through a partnership with Hostar, the platform was launched as Disney + hotstar. With its rapid growth and large variety of content, stretching from live sports to the latest films, it is on track to become a giant in the OTT market. They offer a multilingual content, which is appropriate for people of different ages and preferences. Recently Disney+ Hotstar have started to create and offer original content, therefore resulting in a more diverse product portfolio.

Before Disney's acquisition of Star India, Hotstar was a functioning OTT platform exclusively available in India. 2 years ago, when Hotstar entered the OTT market, they had low market share and weren’t able to compete with large companies like Netflix and Amazon Prime. However with the support of Disney, they are now able to achieve a competitive stance in the Indian OTT market.

More than 500 shows and 10,000 movies are aired every year, making it impossible for a person to watch them. However, since the release of OTT platforms, this herculean task has become a reality. With the help of these new platforms, accessing both existing and new content is available for the consumers pleasure. It is interesting how the audience is now spoilt for choice, subscribers now spend up to 30 minutes selecting a movie. Considering this factor, Disney+ Hotstar has an advantage as a lot of the content is familiar. It is also important to understand how these companies function and how they compare to the competitors, as there is intense competition.

Hence, it is interesting to examine the impact of D+H launch in India through the-
Research Question: To what extent has the launch of Disney+ hotstar, impacted Disney's market share in the Indian OTT market?


Possible sources of information:

Table 1- Methodology

Source Information attained
Company and competitors websites Using official company websites to gain information regarding pricing and product offering.
Industry reports/articles Information related to the industry and the companies in the market, as well the barriers to entry and the threat that they present. Using websites like ‘Fortune Business sights’ to help better understand the competitiveness and competitors in the market.
Articles and Customer reviews Information about the launch, new products, possible change in subscription prices, etc. Understand the consumer perception of the goods/service provided. With use of websites like Google reviews and articles from newspapers like ‘Economic Times’
Financial reports/ websites Information about the financial side of the launch and the company's current financial standing. Using websites like Statista, to better comprehend and analysis the recent financial figures of Disney+ Hotstar.

Tools used:

Table 2- Tools

Tool Reason for selection
BCG Matrix To examine the product variety and their contribution to Disney+ Hotstar.
PPM To understand the consumer perception of Disney+ Hotstar and its competitors (Netflix, Amazon prime, etc.)
4 P’s of marketing To determine the marketing mix of Disney+ Hotstar, therefore helping them meet their marketing goals.
Ratios To gauge the financial position of Disney+ Hotstar after the launch.
S.W.O.T To identify the beneficial and costly areas to Disney+ Hotstar.
Porter’s 5 forces To study the competitive environment of the OTT industry.



Figure 1- S.W.O.T of Disney+ Hotstar


Throughout the entire time in the internship i felt like there were two tasks handled extremely well by me, them being:

  • Unique Content - Since the launch of Disney+ Hotstar, disney has removed every disney movie and show from their competitors platforms. Therefore currently the only platform that has disney content (including Marvel, Star wars, Pixar, etc.) is Disney+ Hotstar, making it instantly more attractive to families and younger kids. Disney has also decided to start making special content for the Disney+ (Hotstar), which unlike the other disney content will not be available on the regular disney channels. Resulting in new and unique content.

  • Great Product Range - Since Disney+ Hotstar is a cumulation of the content from Star India (now a part of Disney) and Disney, the product portfolio ranges from sports to children shows, and of course upto date and current movies and TV shows . It has content in 9 languages spreading over 15+ channels, which results in a diverse range of content. The large number of genres and age rating, allow an enjoyable experience for all.

  • Great Product Range - Since Disney+ Hotstar is a cumulation of the content from Star India (now a part of Disney) and Disney, the product portfolio ranges from sports to children shows, and of course upto date and current movies and TV shows . It has content in 9 languages spreading over 15+ channels, which results in a diverse range of content. The large number of genres and age rating, allow an enjoyable experience for all.

  • Acquisitions - Over the past few years Disney has made an effort to acquire many new companies to enlarge their portfolio. After all, the acquisition of Star India led to the creation of Disney+ Hotstar. These acquisitions allow Disney to diversify the content on the platform. The best example being the acquisition of 21st Century Fox led to the addition of ‘Family Guy’ to the platform.


  • No Parental Restrictions - Unlike other OTT platforms, there is no parental control on the account. Which could lead to children watching inappropriate content, therefore parents are skeptical of subscribing. This common concern decreases the chances of subscriptions which would not be beneficial.

  • Unable to create profiles - Without the ability to make profiles it becomes harder for families with different interests to use the same account. Even Though it will prevent people from sharing their accounts, it is not ideal for a family. A possible solution being putting a cap on the number of profiles one can create.

  • Great Product Range - Since Disney+ Hotstar is a cumulation of the content from Star India (now a part of Disney) and Disney, the product portfolio ranges from sports to children shows, and of course upto date and current movies and TV shows . It has content in 9 languages spreading over 15+ channels, which results in a diverse range of content. The large number of genres and age rating, allow an enjoyable experience for all.

  • Restructure of Disney content - Disney has decided to focus on creating original content for the show (like Wandavison, Loki, etc.) rather than publishing existing content. This has pushed many people to unsubscribe from the platform, therefore becoming a big threat to the company.


  • Global Expansion - Disney+ Hotstar is exclusively available in India, limiting their audience. Even though Disney+ is globally available, a lot of the additional content on Disney+ Hotstar cannot be accessed. Many neighbouring countries and Indians residing overseas would be willing to subscribe to the platform, thereby increasing the profits of the company.

  • High Demand - Marvel, Pixar and Star wars are household names in the global entertainment industry, making hotstar an attractive platform. Considering Disney has been leading the animation industry for the past couple decades, most parents would prefer subscribing to Disney+ Hotstar over other platforms. The platform also includes live sports, like the IPL and Formula 1, both of which are watched by millions in India and more globally.


  • Issues Regarding Health - Recent studies show that parents have noticed an increase in the consumption of television by their children, therefore damaging their eyes and health. This has led to many families/parents canceling their subscriptions, which is harmful for Disney+ Hotstar as the majority of the content is designed for children.

  • Content Privacy - Considering disney content is very popular, the chances of pirated versions being found on illegal websites is high. This is also very commonly done for live sports as well. These illegal methods could lead to a loss in consumers, however Diseny and Star India have active teams working on eliminating these illegal websites.

Ratio Analysis

Net Loss Margin

Net profit/loss = Sales revenue - Expense
NLM = (Net loss / sales revenue) * 100 Percentage change in NLM = (Current year NLM - Last year NLM / Last year NLM) * 100

Table 3- Ratios

Year 2018 (Before Disney acquisition) 2019 (After Disney acquisition) 2020 (After official launch of Disney+ Hotstar)
Sales Revenue (INR) 576 Cr 1123 Cr 1628 Cr
Expense (INR) 965.7 Cr 1677 Cr 1990 Cr
Net Profit (INR) - 389.3 Cr - 554.38 Cr - 361.8 Cr
Net loss margin
(Because net profit was negative, it is considered as net loss)
(389.3 / 576 ) * 100

= 67.59 %
(554.38 / 1123 ) * 100

= 49.37 %
(361.8 / 1628 ) * 100

= 22.22 %
Percentage change
in NLM
N/A (49.37 - 67.59/ 67.59) * 100

= - 26.96 %
(22.22 - 49.37 / 49.37) * 100

= - 54.99 %

In 2018, Hostar was a relatively new platform exclusively run by their parent company, Star India. Their lack of experience and low quality of content is reflected in their revenue, which was 567 Cr (INR). In that year Hotstar was still working on building their profile, which resulted in higher expenses ( 965.7 Cr). This resulted in a high NLM, this is a clear indication of financial struggle for Hotstar. In 2019, there was a significant increase in costs however the increase in revenue was greater. This resulted in a decrease in NLM by 26.96%, this was proof that Hotstar were making progressive steps. Even though the company had shown financial growth the NLM was still very high at 49.37%. Since Disney and Star India were not bothered about the short run, and knew that in order to succeed in a competitive market such as the OTT market they would have to incur high costs in the short run. This trend was repeated again in 2020 after the launch of Disney+ Hotstar, as along with a significant increase in revenue there was also an increase in expenses. However, NLM had now fallen to just 22%, which was a 54.99% decrease compared to 2019. At this rate, Disney+ Hotstar can become a very profitable asset for Disney. In the long run, it will be easier for them to make profits as they will enjoy economies of scale, more market experience and are now a household name in the industry.

Market Share

June 2020- Indian OTT market Share

Figure 4- Indian OTT market share June 2020

June 2021- Indian OTT market Share

Figure 5- Indian OTT market share June 2021


In just a year, Disney+ Hotstar were able to become joint market leaders. They were also the platform which gained the most market share. This is promising for Disney+ Hotstar, as they can now reduce their expenses and start making profits. With the continuous help of Disney, the platform can reach new heights and become sole market leaders. That is even more likely as in the past year, both of their biggest competitors (Netflix and Amazon Prime Video) have either lost market share or remained at the same spot. The graphs also indicate an increase in competitiveness from other platforms, as the market share of the other platforms increased from 26% to 30%. This shows that Disney+ Hotstar need to invest wisely and in a manner in which they can maintain their market share and start making profits.

Porter’s 5 forces

Figure 6- Porter’s 5 Forces of the Indian OTT market

Threats of new entrants: Moderate

For a company that does not produce original content, the barrier to entry is moderate, as the investment costs required for technology as well as acquiring content for the platform will be high. Especially considering that these firms will have to fight the big players for the external content. Netflix has been able to keep in front of the global market, due to its high investment and ability to adapt to change, therefore increasing the investments required making it harder for new entrants to sustain themselves. However as seen in the situation of HBO and Brit-box, who have recently released OTT platforms, as they create original content the barriers to entry are significantly lower. However Disney used a different approach to enter the Indian market: by acquiring Hotstar. This acquisition helped Disney reduce technological costs as well as costs related to industry studies, therefore making their entry easy, efficient and cost-effective. Therefore the threat of new entrants to Disney+ Hotstar is moderate.

Industry rivalry: High

Currently in India, there are more than 10 different OTT platforms, most of which produce original and unique content. Each year these platforms are able to reach a better position financially but still are a long way from reaching the levels of Disney+ Hotstar, Netflix and Amazon prime video. The competition intensity increases as the amount of platforms do, especially now when there are different platforms for different prices. The intensity is expected to increase in the coming years, but the popularity and adaptability of the bigger platforms will help keep them ahead of the competition. Therefore the industry rivalry is at a high level, with no expectation of reducing.

Threat of substitutes: Moderate

Over the past decade the threat of substitutes has been falling and will continue to do so. The substitutes of the OTT industry include: Television (Set-up box), Youtube, and other streaming websites. Set-up boxes like Tata sky have now started to be completely replaced since live sports and news started to be broadcast on the OTT platforms. However in India, due to technological difficulties many people still prefer to use Set-up boxes for entertainment. Youtube has been a leader in the entertainment industry since its inception. With the addition of Youtube premium which includes shows and movies, they are able to compete head on with these OTT platforms. Many of the streaming websites are illegal (for example, popcorn time) even though they can temporarily compete with the platforms, in the long run these websites will not sustain resulting in a very small threat. At the moment the threat of substitutes is moderate but in the coming years it is expected to fall. Many of these substitutes are temporary replacements, even though they are more cost effective, OTT platforms permit flexibility and 24/7 accessibility to a larger variety of content. Therefore the threat of substitutes to Disney+ Hotstar is moderate.

Bargaining power of suppliers: Moderate

The bargaining power of suppliers is high for firms that do not create original content. However that is not the case of Disney+ hotstar, as disney are the biggest suppliers of content to the platform the bargaining power is low. But due to the addition of live sports, news and some shows, this threat is significantly increased. The bargaining power of sport tournaments such as Formula 1, IPL and the English Premier League is high, as other platforms like SonyLiv or Zee5 would be willing to broadcast them. Already many of the cricket tournaments (that are broadcasted in India) are split between Hotstar and Sony Liv. Both Netflix and Amazon prime video do not live stream, therefore reducing the competition. The bargaining power of suppliers could differ depending on the type of content and the supplier, but overall the bargaining power of suppliers in the case of Disney+ Hotstar is moderate.

Bargaining power of buyers: High

In any industry, the power of buyers is high in large numbers. This is especially true for the OTT industry, as if any content has ethical or cultural issues it could lead to the destruction of the platform. ‘Cancel Culture’ is an ideology that is increasing and something that all firms should beware of, in fact Disney+ Hotstar faced backlash due to the unethical filming of ‘Mulan’. This issue increased the subscription reluctance of the buyers and led to a fall of consumers. The OTT market is quality based and not very price sensitive, as most platforms have similar prices. Therefore buyers look at the quality of the products, this is where platforms like Disney+ Hotstar, Netflix and Amazon prime video gain an advantage over their competitors. Due to the large number of platforms, with just a few clicks consumers can leave a certain platform and join another one. Thereby reducing the firm's profits. Consumers are also allowed to subscribe to more than 1 platform, therefore increasing their bargaining power. However Disney+ Hotstar is unlikely to face such a threat due to their unique content. The bargaining power of Buyers in the case of Disney+ Hotstar is at a high level .

4 P’s Of Marketing


Table 4- Product

Hotstar Netflix
  • Live sports (IPL, F1, ISL)
  • Netflix Specials (Movies and TV shows)
  • Hotstar Specials (Movies and TV shows)
  • Bollywood movies
  • Star shows
  • Hollywood TV shows
  • Disney Movies
  • Bollywood movies
  • Disney+ Originals
  • Animated kids shows (Peppa pig, teen titans go, etc.)
  • Bollywood movies
  • Tollywood movies
  • Hollywood movies
  • Hollywood TV shows
  • Animated content (Eg. Pixar)

Even though it seems like Disney+ Hotstar edge out Netflix, this is not true. Netflix has a higher number of movies and TV shows, most importantly their content is loved by the audiences. Compared to Disney+ Hotstar, who have a large number of mediocre quality content. Netflix also has award winning original shows and movies, which helps them edge out competition. However Disney+ Hotstar have live content, including news and sports helping them aggressively compete with other platforms.


Table 5- Price

Hotstar Netflix
  • VIP- Rs. 399
  • Premium
    - Rs. 1499/ Year
    - Rs. 299/ Month
Options (monthly prices):
  • Mobile- Rs. 199
  • Basic- Rs. 499
  • Standard- Rs. 649
  • Premium- Rs. 799
Strategies implied:
  1. Loss leader- The implementation of this strategy is one of the reasons for Disney+ Hotstar losses in the past few years.However it might be costly in the long-run

  2. Psychological pricing- Disney+ Hotstar round down numbers, for example Rs. 799 instead of Rs. 800, to deceive the customers and therefore increase subscriptions.
Strategies implied:
  1. Price Leadership- In the past, Netflix have used their dominating presence in order to keep their prices at a high level. Knowing that their content is in demand, they are able to optimize their revenue.

  2. Psychological pricing- Netflix round down numbers, for example Rs. 499 instead of Rs. 500, to deceive the customers and therefore increase subscriptions.

These different pricing strategies help the respective companies increase their revenue. However in the case of Disney+ Hotstar it is still resulting in a loss, which is not sustainable for the long run. Although due to the help of these strategies Disney+ Hotstar have been able to become market leaders in India, which will give them the liberty to start increasing their prices. In Netflix’s case, their strategies have been helping them make a healthy profit but they have to be cautious as Disney+ Hotstar could increase the difficulty and competitiveness of the market, even though they have been incurring losses.


Table 6- Promotion

Hotstar Netflix
  • Advertising- It includes the use of billboards and posters in order to update the public about new content.
  • Advertising- It includes the use of billboards and posters in order to update the public about new content.
  • Social media- Companies use Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to give live updates and market their products.
  • Social media- Companies use Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to give live updates and market their products.
  • Star network (TV)- Disney+ Hotstar uses the channels of their sister company ‘Star India’ to advertise their content on satellite TV.
  • TV- Netflix advertise their content on satellite TV, in an attempt to draw in a larger audience.

Both Disney+ Hotstar and Netflix implement the same type of promotion. However in this sector Hotstar is able to edge out Netflix, due to their collaborative work with ‘Star India’. As both ‘Star India’ and Disney+ Hotstar are owned by Disney, Disney+ Hotstar dont have to pay for promotion on TV, whereas Netflix do. By reducing promotional costs, Disney+ Hotstar can invest this money to improve their content quality, quantity and other technical factors.


Both Disney+ Hotstar and Netflix can be accessed using:
  • Smart TVs
  • Tablets
  • Smartphones
  • Anyplace and/or any device with internet access
Both these services are easily accessible on all platforms mentioned above, therefore neither company has an advantage. This results in an increase in the competitiveness of the market.

BCG Matrix

Figure 2- BCG matrix of Disney+ Hotstar


Even though ‘STARS’ brings in a large sum of the platform's revenue, however Disney+ Hotstar spend a lot of money in order to create and maintain high quality content. As seen with ‘Marvel’, Marvel shows and movies are one of the primary sources of income for Disney, but the costs of creating these shows are high, especially the new special shows. For example, the up and coming series ‘Hawkeye’, the production costs are an estimated $25 million, however with regards to Marvel series (Hotstar specials), there is no real way to estimate the income they bring. Disney has admitted to the fact that these costs are high as they desire to become global leaders in the OTT industry, they believe that this high production content will help them edge out of the competition.

Question Mark:

Most question marks, like DisneyNature and Hotstar specials, have potential to become stars with the right investment. Luckily for Disney+ Hotstar the large number of cash cows will permit them to invest in these question marks. Additionally Disney has other projects, which will increase the amount of funds available to Disney. With the implementation of the right marketing strategies, these projects could become audience attractions and push disney closer to their goal. For example ‘Special Ops’ ( a Hotstar special) became a big attraction for the Indian market, as Disney+ Hotstar marketed the series in a patriotic and must-watch show for Indians. Therefore resulting in an increase of consumers, because of these investments Disney+ Hotstar were able to start their dominance in the Indian OTT market.

Cash Cow:

‘Cash Cows’ are the biggest source of income for a business, and this is especially true in the case of Disney+ Hotstar. Disney has 2 types of cash cows, the first one being: completed series like the ‘Star Wars’, and the second one being: projects who can't grow anymore like ‘Pixar’. These projects would require minimum investment and marketing and can help fund projects in the question mark and stars category. Therefore allowing the business to grow and generate more revenue. In the past few years, the marketing of these projects has been reduced, in an attempt to save and invest money in order to build their product portfolio.


A lot of the content available on Disney+ Hotstar falls under the ‘Dogs’ category, meaning that they aren't audience attraction and are usually draining rather than gaining money. The best examples of this are ‘How I Met Your Mother’ (TV show) and ‘Speed’ (movie). This content is not something that consumers subscribe for, and are simply added bonuses. For an OTT platform it is essential to have a few of these but if there are too many it could lead to higher costs, which will result in lower profits.

Disney+ Hotstar are a growing company with many cash cows and stars which help them increase their subscriber base. With the right investment Disney+ Hotstar will be able to convert their question marks to stars, which would result in a potential increase in revenue. Along with that Disney+ Hotstar can offload some of the dogs, as their costs are already very high.

Product Positioning Map

Based on the range of products offered and their popularity among the consumers, following PPM has been made.

Figure 3- PPM of the Indian OTT market

Disney+ Hotstar:

The platform itself provided content spread out through every genre and most languages. However, they face a problem when it comes to overall popularity. As the content is better suited for younger children, whereas their competitors target the higher ages. This is where Disney+ Hotstar fall short, in order to become bigger than they already are, they will have to provide content better suited for more age groups. The quality of content has started to rise along with their market share, therefore giving them a better chance of competing head on with the others.

Amazon Prime:

Out of all competitors, Amazon Prime Video offers the best bollywood content, and are Disney+ Hotstar’s biggest competitors in the indian market. . Even though Amazon Prime offers additional benefits on the amazon app, the OTT platform still lacks quality content. They offer anime, bollywood and hollywood therefore providing variety, however the options are limited and lesser than most major competitors. Amazon uploads the latest and most popular content, and has launched movies like ‘Toofan’ and plans to release more original content.


Netflix, are Disneys biggest global competitor, however in the Indian market they fall short of Disney+ Hotstar. Their content includes the latest Bollywood, Hollywood, Cartoons, Anime, Koreon dramas and Originals, all of which are of high quality. However in India the product popularity is lower than the major competitors. Netflix plans on producing more bollywood based original content in order to cater to the Indian audience, and therefore better compete with Amazon and Disney+ Hotstar.

Zee 5 and Sony Liv:

Zee 5 is a medium sized competitor of Disney+ Hotstar, they exclusively provide content to the Indian market. However due to the lack of funds the overall quality of the content is low, even though it varies from bollywood to tollywood. Sony Liv is Disney+ Hotstar’s biggest competitor in the sports (live streaming) market. The streaming of the Olympics, UEFA Champions League, India cricket series, and others, have been major audience attractions. These additions have helped Sony Liv make themselves an established player in the industry. In the case of both companies the quality and quantity of movies and shows (especially intenternatinal) is low and is a key aspect that they will have to work on if they would like to become a major player.


Disney+ Hotstar have a lot of variation in their content, which attracts the Indian audience. However the audience that they target are stringent when it comes to subscribing, whereas the audience that is willing to subscribe prefer more global content which is offered by Netflix and Amazon. With the addition of Disney content, the subscription appeal has increased with no sign of stopping, in the future it is very likely that disney+ hotstar will dominate the indian OTT market.


Disney+ Hotstar have full support of Disney, which allows them to have exclusive content that is high in demand. However in order to become a stronger competitor they will have to restructure the profiles, making it more user/age friendly.

Disney has many cash cows, which they continue to milk. They are also fully committed to investing in their ‘stars’ in order to increase the demand for the content. In an attempt to reduce costs, they could remove a few ‘dogs’.

Even though Disney+ Hotstar are currently making a loss, the ratios suggest that they are moving in the right direction. The losses have reduced significantly and they are currently on track to making profit for the first time.

The P’s suggest that in India, Disney+ Hotstar have a competitive advantage, this is even reflected in the sales revenue. With more content variety and lower prices, the Indian audience do prefer Disney+ Hotstar.

The popularity of Disney content is increasing everyday, however a lot of the content targets the general public. Unlike Netflix who target the upper class and middle class, Disney+ Hotstar hope to continue to penetrate this market and become more profitable.

The already competitive market shows no sign of reducing, however their strong position in the market will help them fight off smaller competitors with ease. But the future can be difficult for them and other competitors.

D+H have been successful in attaining market share, however it has come at the cost of high expenses, causing them to incur a loss. In the past few years, the margin of loss has reduced significantly, which promises a better future for the company. These high expenses have led D+H to overtake Netflix and reach the level of amazon prime in terms of market share. They can now focus on cutting costs and increasing revenue, with the help of economies of scale and their high market share.

Limitations of my work:

Lack Of Financial Information- For ratio analysis, complete financials for Disney+ Hotstar were not accessible, therefore only Net loss ratio was calculated. With more information, I would have been able to better analyse their financial situation.

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