Washington D.C.: The much-anticipated launch of ‘Disney Plus’ streaming service has been indefinitely delayed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Variety, ‘Disney Plus’ was due to launch on March 29 as part of Disney’s India streaming service Hotstar, coinciding with the beginning of the service’s largest audience puller — the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament.
The popular cricket tournament has also been postponed till April 15 in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak.
The President of The Walt Disney Company APAC, Uday Shankar, and the chairman of Star and Disney India said a statement: “We recently announced that Disney Plus would launch in India through the Hotstar service in conjunction with the beginning of the Indian Premier League cricket season. Given the delay of the season, we have made the decision to briefly pause the roll-out of Disney Plus and will announce a new revised premiere date for the service soon.”
‘Disney Plus’ went live in India on March 11, after which it was withdrawn within a day’s time. Hotstar said that it was beta testing which limited it to a small number of customers.
Disney’s Star network has a stranglehold on cricket broadcast in the market, which is the most popular sport in the Indian subcontinent. The network paid 2.55 billion USD for 2018-2022 rights to the IPL.
An audience of 18.6 million subscribers on the Hotstar app and website broke the record for concurrent viewership as they tuned in simultaneously to watch the IPL finals in the year 2019.
With more than 300 million monthly active views, Hostar is India’s most popular streaming service.
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