Disney (DIS) to Beam Disney+ in India Amid Coronavirus Shutdown

Zacks Equity Research

Disney DIS is set to launch its Disney+ streaming service in India on April 3, per a Reuters report.

Notably, the company had planned to launch Disney+ on Mar 29 and a beta trial was made available to a limited number of Hotstar users on Mar 11.

However, Disney postponed the India launch following the rescheduling of Indian Premier League (IPL) due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Disney+ launch is expected to benefit Disney from the ongoing social-distancing trend and the coronavirus-related 21-day lockdown across India.

The Walt Disney Company Price and Consensus

The Walt Disney Company Price and Consensus

The Walt Disney Company price-consensus-chart | The Walt Disney Company Quote


Disney+ Solid Content Portfolio to Aid User Growth

The streaming service launched last November emerged as a robust revenue source for Disney as this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company continues to suffer losses from the closure of its theme parks, cruise ships and postponed movie releases like Black Widow. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Disney has been bolstering Disney+ content portfolio to gain users currently on lockdown triggered by the pandemic-related physical distancing norm.

For instance, Disney launched Frozen 2, three months ahead of schedule on Disney+ in the United States on Mar 15. Disney and Pixar’s Onward will also be available on Disney+ on Apr 3 in the United States.

The Indian audience is likely to savor Disney+ originals, such as The Mandalorian along with the entire library of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, National Geographic and shows from studios, namely HBO, Fox and Showtime depending on the price plan.

The Disney+ Hotstar service will be available under three plans featuring a basic, ad-supported free plan; a second-tier plan priced at INR 399 a year and the most expensive INR 1,499 package per annum.

Competition Intensifies in India

The strong content portfolio is expected to help Disney challenge not only Netflix NFLX, Apple AAPL and Amazon AMZN prime video but also local providers like Zee5, Alt Balaji, Voot and MX Player.

Netflix’s offering of a mobile-only cheaper plan and a solid content portfolio is expected to drive user base in India. Reportedly, the company will spend $420 million this year and next on producing original content for the Indian audience.

Ghost Stories, a sequel to last year’s Lust Stories, Tribhanga, Freedom, Class of ’83 produced by Red Chillies, Bulbul produced by Anushka Sharma and The White Tiger starring Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Rajkummar Rao are some of the shows on Netflix India in 2020.

Moreover, Amazon prime video’s slate of sturdy local content including The Forgotten Army, Breathe 2, Bandish Bandits, Mirzapur Season 2 and Made in Heaven 2 among others is expected to stiffen competition for Netflix and Disney in 2020.

Nevertheless, the growing popularity of Disney+ makes it a major driver for Disney’s prospects owing to a strong content portfolio and a cheaper bundle offering.

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