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Disney+ Hotstar aims to produce 100 local original titles in India

Disney+ has 500 local original titles in production outside the US.

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Mumbai: The Walt Disney Company has revealed that there are 500 local original titles in various stages of development and production for Disney+ and gave a breakdown of the number of titles slated for each region during its second-quarter earnings call for fiscal 2022. According to The Walt Disney Company senior EVP and chief financial officer Christine McCarthy, there are 140 local content titles slated for the Asia Pacific region including Southeast Asia, 150 titles for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), 100 titles in production in India and 200 titles in Latin America.

“We are enthusiastic about our growth potential in international markets,” said The Walt Disney Company chief executive officer Bob Chapek. “We currently have over 500 local original titles in various stages of development and production. 180 of those titles are slated to premiere this fiscal year, increasing to over 300 international originals per year in a steady state. We believe these premium local originals, along with branded content with broad international appeal, will attract new subscribers and drive engagement.”

The Walt Disney Company has said that it plans to spend $32 billion on content in 2022 out of which one-third will be in sports, and the balance will be dedicated to investments into general entertainment content including linear, theatrical, and direct-to-consumer (DTC) platforms.

The company recently announced plans to introduce an ad-supported subscription offering for Disney+ in the US by the end of the calendar year that will roll out internationally in 2023. The company saw a stellar quarter for its streaming services with more than 205 million subscriptions overall (Disney+, ESPN+, Hulu) adding 9.2 million subscriptions in the quarter. The majority of the new subscriptions were driven by Disney+ which added 7.9 million subscribers which came to a total of 138 million global paid subscribers. A little over half of the net adds were from Disney+ Hotstar which benefited from the start of the new IPL season towards the end of the second quarter, noted McCarthy.

Excluding Disney+ Hotstar, internationally the service added over two million paid subscribers with Latin America being the strongest contributor.

As per the earnings report, Disney+ has 44.4 million subscribers in the US and Canada and 43.2 million international subscribers excluding Disney+ Hotstar. Disney+ Hotstar has 50.1 million subscribers, a massive jump of 42 per cent over the corresponding quarter in the previous year. The average revenue per paid subscriber in the US and Canada is $6.32 while for Disney+ Hotstar it is at $0.76.

The average monthly revenue per paid subscriber for Disney+ Hotstar increased from $0.49 to $0.76 due to launches in new territories with higher average prices and higher per-subscriber advertising revenue, partially offset by a higher mix of wholesale subscribers.

The company’s direct-to-consumer revenues for the quarter increased 23 per cent to $4.9 billion and operating loss increased to $0.9 billion. The increase in operating loss was due to higher losses at Disney+ and ESPN+ and lower operating income at Hulu.

The lower results at Disney+ were due to higher programming, production, marketing and technology costs offset by increase in subscription revenue. The higher subscription revenue was due to subscriber growth and increases in retail pricing. The increases in costs and subscribers reflected growth in existing markets and expansion into new markets, to a lesser extent.

“Direct-to-consumer programming and production costs in Q3 (third quarter) are expected to increase by more than $900 million year-over-year, reflecting higher original content expense at Disney+ and Hulu increased sports rights costs and higher programming fees at Hulu Live,” Christine McCarthy stated.  “At Disney+, while we still expect higher net adds in the second half of the year versus the first half, it's worth mentioning that we did have a stronger-than-expected first half of the year."

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