Disney+ set to remove HBO content from Hotstar in India

Exclusive: HBO content, including Tentacles House of the Dragon And legacyIndian platform Disney+ is on the verge of exiting Hotstar, where it has been streaming since 2016, local industry sources said.

The move appears to be in line with Disney CEO Bob Iger’s announcement of company restructuring and cost cutting. HBO content, especially game of thronesWhile Disney+ helped Hotstar build its subscriber base when it first introduced a pay tier, English-language content is still considered a niche market in India.

At the same time, the Disney-owned platform is under pressure to reverse its subscription decline with more mass-market content. While it remains India’s largest streamer, Disney+ Hotstar subscriptions fell 6% to 57.5 million in the quarter ended December 31, 2022. The decline was partly attributed to the loss of the Indian Premier League cricket tournament, which was won by Viacom18 last year. in a $2.6BN deal.

Indian industry analysts speculate that Prime Video will be a natural fit for HBO content – ​​either as part of its SVOD service or with the launch of HBO Max as part of its Prime Video channel offering in India.

Channels currently available on Prime Video in India include HBO Max sister channels Discovery+, AMC+, Lionsgate Play, Mubi and Indian streaming services ErosNow and Hoichoi.

In addition, Prime Video has a deal with Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) announced in July 2022 to stream a slate of HBO Max originals in India. The HBO show is already streaming on Prime Video India air force, And just like that, Gossip Girl and sci-fi dramas Raised by wolves.

Both Warner Bros. Discovery and Prime Video declined to comment when contacted by Deadline.

Until August last year, WBD planned to launch HBO Max as a standalone service in India and started building a local team. However, these plans were shelved as part of a larger restructuring and cost-cutting in the wake of the WarnerMedia and Discovery merger. SonyLiv content head Saugata Mukherjee, who moved to HBO to head local-language content, has since returned to SonyLiv.

WDB has launched HBO Max across Latin American and a portion of European territories, but no plans for Asia have been confirmed. HBO content is currently streamed in several Southeast Asian regions on WBD’s OTT service HBO Go, while licensing deals are in place in Korea and Japan.

The initial licensing deal between HBO (part of Time Warner) and major Indian broadcaster Star India (owned by Fox at the time) was signed in late 2015, when Star India’s streaming platform Hotstar was still an ad-supported service carrying mostly catch-up TV. . Hotstar began producing originals in 2019, starting with an adaptation of the BBC show Criminal justiceand was rebranded as Disney+ Hotstar in August 2020 following Disney’s acquisition of Fox.

Adaptation of Disney+ Hotstar Luther, Rudra: Edge of DarknessAccording to Ormax Media, it was the most popular Hindi-language program in India last year, drawing more than 35 million viewers.

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