After saturation in US, media giants are looking to India for growth


Facing saturation in the US, media giants are looking abroad for growth, and India — the second-largest internet population globally — is ripe for disruption, Axios reported.

Global demand for Hindi-language programming is the highest by far among non-English content, according to data from Parrot Analytics, despite losing some ground to Japanese content in recent months.

Disney on Wednesday revealed for the first time a geographic breakdown of Disney+ subscribers, and India — not North America — is currently its biggest market, the report said.

At the end of last year, Disney had 45.9 million subscribers to Disney+ Hotstar, its Indian premium streaming platform, compared to 42.9 million North American subscribers.

Subscription growth in India was by far the highest last quarter for Disney+, compared to North America and the rest of the world, the report said. Disney acquired Hotstar from 21st Century Fox in 2019.

Hotstar is currently the largest streaming platform in India, and is especially popular thanks to its exclusive Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket rights, which expire this year.

Because cricket rights are a huge entry-point to the Indian media market, entertainment giants are already preparing competitive bids, per The Wall Street Journal.

On an earnings call Wednesday, Disney CEO Bob Chapek confirmed that the company is trying to extend its current IPL rights, but noted that if the company didn’t win them, its investments in localized entertainment content would help them remain competitive in India.

Big money is flooding the Indian market, as investors rush to cash in on the region.

On Wednesday, Lupa Systems founder and CEO James Murdoch and Uday Shankar, the former chairman and CEO of Star India (an Indian subsidiary of Disney) and the former president of Disney’s APAC region, announced the formation of a new venture called “Bodhi Tree,” an investment platform focused on Southeast Asia and India in particular.

The venture is backed by the Qatar Investment Authority (the sovereign wealth fund of the State of Qatar) with $1.5 billion.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here