Mumbai: Walt Disney Co. is delaying the rollout of its Disney+ streaming service in India after a key local cricket tournament that lures millions of viewers was postponed as part of measures to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.
The revised date for the launch of the product, originally set to start on March 29, will be announced soon, Uday Shankar, the chairman of the entertainment giant’s local unit said in an emailed statement Friday.
Already a leader in India with Hotstar — an asset it inherited from Fox — Disney is seeking to bolster its position in a market where Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. are jostling with a slew of local platforms for market share. Hotstar, which says it has 300 million active monthly users, became popular by streaming cricket matches to millions of Indian fans crazy about the game.
Bob Iger, chairman of the Burbank, California-based company, last month said Disney+ will be introduced through the Hotstar platform, coinciding with the Indian Premier League cricket season that was set to start March 29. The Board of Control for Cricket in India last week suspended the tournament until April 15 citing health safety reasons.
On the other hand, Disney is pressing ahead with its debut in Europe scheduled for March 24, as the virus outbreak boosts demand for streamed content online. Disney+, available in the U.S., Canada and the Netherlands since November, is seeking to take on competition with some of its beloved offerings such as “Star Wars,” the Marvel superheroes and “Toy Story.” – Bloomberg