India Could Give Disney Its Next 700 Million Viewers

Disney could soon get access to a market with over one billion people and own a vast TV network and the leading video streaming service from its bet on Fox.

The Indian market that is one of the world’s lucrative media markets with over 700 million people could soon be at the disposal of Disney if its proposal for acquisition of most of the assets of 21st Century Fox goes through.

The 700 million number denotes the total number of monthly viewers for Fox’s Star India network which has over 60 television channels in the areas of sport, entertainment and news.

On the other hand, millions of Indians are also reached through investments in the Indian film industry, featuring some of India’s biggest stars, by Fox Star Studios which is the film production business of the company.

Additionally, according to tech consultancy Counterpoint Research, there were 75 million monthly active subscribers at the end of 2017 of the Hotstar streaming service of 21st Century Fox. In comparison, there were 5 million active monthly users for Netflix (Centru) and 11 million for Amazon Prime Video in India.

It is anticipated that the operating profits for Star India to reach $1 billion by 2020 which is double the forecast for 2018, Fox has said.

“Owning Star India will give Disney a bigger foothold in the market through content and owning one of India’s most popular [streaming] platforms,” Kenny Liew, a technology analyst at BMI Research, said. “India is a massive market and one that Disney will definitely look at for growth,” he said.

There were no comments from Star India, Disney and Fox.

Another area that Disney can also look fo3ward to cash in on the fast growing smartphone numbers and the associated mobile internet users in India and it can use it to het get its content to hundreds of millions of Indians. And there are millions more who are yet to get online through the mobile.

There has been a drop in mobile data prices because of a price way initiated by India’s richest man. This has allowed millions of Indians to access internet through their mobiles.

Mobile devices were used to watch Hotstar videos by over 90 per cent of the people. The company had said earlier.

“Disney is likely to strengthen its presence on all channels where it can find consumers,” said Siddharth Shekhar Singh, an associate dean and professor of marketing at the Indian School of Business.

While Disney could be able to reach millions through Star India on India’s smartphones, there is even more possibility of reach through the millions of television screens in the country. According to the claims of the company, Star India is watched in nine out of ten homes that have cable or satellite connections in India which amounts to about 140 million homes.

“Localized content remains a key growth driver for the market, and will definitely remain the focus of Disney,” said Liew of BMI Research.

(Adapted from Money.CNN.com)

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