Disney-owned streaming service, Disney+ Hotstar, is set to lose HBO content, including the popular series Game of Thrones, The Last of Us, and more in India.
What happened: The move is part of a restructuring and cost-cutting strategy at Disney following the departure of former CEO Bob Iger. While HBO content initially helped build Disney+ Hotstar's subscriber base, the platform is under pressure to reverse its subscriptions decline with more mass-market content.
Why it matters: Disney+ Hotstar is currently the largest streaming service in India, but its subscription base has dropped by 6% to 57.5 million, partly due to the loss of the IPL cricket tournament rights, which was acquired by Viacom18 last year in a $2.6bn deal.
Losing popular HBO content could further impact subscriber numbers, and it could also give a competitive edge to rival streaming services.
The big picture: With English-language content still considered a niche market in India, Disney+ Hotstar is seeking more mass-market content to compete in the crowded streaming market. However, this move could open opportunities for rival streaming services to acquire HBO content, with analysts speculating that Amazon Prime Video could be a natural fit.
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Between the lines: The move highlights the competitive nature of the streaming industry in India, with companies vying for subscribers and exclusive content deals. As Disney+ Hotstar seeks more mass-market content, it risks alienating niche audiences and giving a competitive edge to rivals who focus on specific genres.
Flashback: Disney acquired Hotstar, India's largest streaming service, in 2019 and rebranded it as Disney+ Hotstar in 2020. The platform has had success in India, particularly with its live sports offerings, but has faced challenges due to the crowded and competitive market.
What they're saying: Indian industry analysts are speculating that Amazon Prime Video could be a natural fit for HBO content in India, either as part of its SVoD service or with the launch of HBO Max as part of the Prime Video Channels offering.
Catch up quick: Disney+ Hotstar is set to lose HBO content, including Game of Thrones, in India as part of a restructuring and cost-cutting strategy. With the platform seeking more mass market content, it risks alienating niche audiences and giving a competitive edge to rivals. Indian industry analysts speculate that Amazon Prime Video could acquire HBO content in India.
What's leaving: HBO Shows that are going off the radar if/when HBO leaves Hotstar:
Game of Thrones
House of the Dragon
Big Little Lies
The Night Of
I May Destroy You
Mare of Easttown
The White Lotus
The Last Of Us