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India boosts Disney streaming

Walt Disney said on Thursday that subscriptions to its direct-to-consumer flagship streaming service hit some 95 million for the quarter ending Jan. 2. The $346 billion entertainment giant launched Disney+ in November 2019 and it has seen hyper growth thanks partly to its ownership of India’s Hotstar, the service that airs Indian Premier League cricket and was formerly part of Fox.

Disney+ Hotstar, launched last April, now accounts for 30% of its global subscribers. But this growth comes at a cost. Average revenue per user in the quarter fell 28% year-on-year to $4.03.

Strip out Disney+ Hotstar, and ARPU was $5.56. By comparison Netflix, with over 200 million customers, pulls in above $7 per subscriber. Investors, though, may be willing to tolerate Disney’s Indian equation. After all, the company’s market value has increased more than 60% since April 2019 when it laid out detailed plans for its streaming strategy, handily beating the S&P 500 Index. Reuters

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