The loss of HBO content for Hotstar is a further setback for the company, which has seen several setbacks in recent weeks, including the loss of rights to a popular cricket tournament. This may hamper Hotstar’s ability to compete against more established on-demand video streaming platforms, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Disney+ announced that it will be pushing its HBO catalog out of the service starting on March 31st. This is likely to widen the gap between Disney+ and its main competitor, Amazon Prime Video. While Amazon has a large library of HBO shows, including such hits as Game of Thrones, The Sopranos and Succession, Disney+ only carries a small number of HBO shows compared to other streaming services. In addition to this shift in content, analysts are also speculating that Amazon may broaden its partnership with Warner Bros. in order to stream more HBO content in India.
It’s not just HBO that is losing out with the streaming service premium. In recent months, Reliance Industries Ltd.’s (RIL) Hotstar have also seen their subscriber base dwindle, mainly because of a decreased emphasis on cricket and the international catalog. This competition is likely to hurt both companies as they each rely on their cricket-centric services to attract and retain loyal customers.
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The loss of popular IPL ads could have a significant effect on Hotstar’s attempts to sell premium subscriptions. While the platform has relied on these Ads largely for its funding, and it is unclear how much money they contributed specifically to generating IPL viewership, their absence could be dampening demand for such services. At present, the only way to watch Hotstar’s live content is through its Prime subscription service which costs Rs. 130 per month or Rs. 899 per year. This alludes to mounting doubts about whether a mass market will continue flocking towards Hotstar in the absence of more marquee IPL partnerships like HBO and Cricket India’s Premium Packs which do not feature live streaming rights exclusivity (like some Indonesian platforms).
Hotstar is not just a streaming service for cricket fans – it is a platform that can be used by all kinds of content creators in India. With its massive user base and investment in live streaming, Hotstar has become one of the dominant players in the Indian entertainment space.
The streaming service, Hotstar, has been struggling for some time now to maintain its subscriber base. In fact, as of early 2018, the company had only 50 million subscribers left- a significant decline from its earlier numbers. Despite this fall off in numbers, Hotstar is still trying to find ways to lure new viewers into their platform; however, with stricter ad requirements and the competition from platforms such as Netflix and Hulu (to name a few), it seems that they may not
Disney has changed its focus in recent years and made a number of cuts to Hotstar, which is likely why Formula One renewed its rights with the company. Disney is still an important partner for Formula One and they continue to invest in the sport, but they have put more attention on other platforms in recent years.
Warner Bros has been in talks with a number of streaming services to license its content, though it looks like Amazon may be the most likely candidate. Amazon already streams some HBO content, making it an ideal partner for the company as it expands into India.