Disney to roll out new d2c OTT service under Star brand in India in 2021

Source: Animation News Network

The Walt Disney Company is leaving no stone unturned to fulfill its dream to be the undisputed leader in the streaming game. During the company’s Q3 earnings call, Disney CEO Bob Chapek announced that it will be launching a new international direct-to-consumer (d2c) general streaming service under the Star brand in India in the year 2021.

“Given the rapid changes in consumer behaviour, we believe it is more important than ever that we continue to grow our direct relationship with our customers. And to this end, I am also pleased to announce that we plan to launch an international, direct-to-consumer, general entertainment offering under the Star brand in calendar year 2021. Mirroring the strategy we successfully pursued with Disney+, the offering will be rooted in content we own from the prolific and critically acclaimed production engines and libraries,” Chapek said. 

The OTT offering will house content from the libraries of ABC Studios, Fox Television, FX, Freeform, 20th Century Studios, and Searchlight. He further added that in many markets the streaming platform will be fully integrated into Disney+ platform from both a marketing and a technology perspective, but it will be distributed under the Star brand in India.

“It will be distributed under the Star brand, which has been successfully utilised by the company for other general entertainment platform launches, particularly with Disney+ Hotstar in India. The fact that Disney+ has grown as rapidly as it has, both domestically and globally, clearly demonstrates the value of our content. And through the addition of our Star-branded general entertainment offering, we are further extending the value of that content internationally,” he noted. 

Disney is rooting in the content it already owns and distributing it under a successful international brand including Star, bringing it to market in a very close association to Disney. Chapek also clarified that Hulu is only known within the US, and the branding doesn’t match with that of Star, as Star will only offer Disney owned content unlike Hulu that features a lot of licenced content. 

He further reiterated that House of Mouse finds tremendous opportunity in the d2c space, and have achieved success this far through it, bolstered by their ability to deliver the exceptional brands, franchises and storytelling that consumers around the world have demonstrated a tremendous affinity for. Hence, the company intends to take full advantage of that opportunity.

Bob Chapek

Through the new d2c OTT offering, Disney will explore the new PVOD (premium video on demand) model. “In terms of the premier access idea, Disney tentpole blockbuster theatrical films can be fairly expensive to make and produce in order to provide the quality that consumers expect from us. So, rather than simply rolling those for free, we thought we would give it a try to establish a new window – a premier one, to try to recapture some of that investment that we’ve got. All I’ll say about our research is that, it shows that such a premier access offering not only gets us revenue from the original transaction from the PVOD but also acts as a fairly large stimulus to sign up for Disney+,” he added. 

Chapek additionally mentioned that Disney will be hosting another investor day in the coming months, focused on its plans to accelerate the push into the direct-to-consumer marketplace across Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+ and Star brands. He is optimistic for the company’s way forward to share more about its plans in the coming months.