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Iger Says Disney Plus Coming to India in March, Hulu to Expand Internationally in 2021

Stephanie Sengwe

The Disney+ reign won’t be letting up anytime soon. After announcing stellar first quarter numbers yesterday, Robert A. Iger, Walt Disney Company’s chairman and Chief Executive Officer, also revealed that the streaming service will make its mark internationally beginning in March.

During the Q1 2020 earnings call, Iger stated, “The next big priority is watching Disney+ in numerous international markets, starting in Western Europe on March 24 when we’ll launch in the UK and Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Austria. Additional markets, including Belgium, the Nordics and Portugal will follow this summer. In December, we signed a deal with Canal+, the leading pay TV provider in France. We’re currently in talks with several other potential distribution partners throughout the region.”

Not only will Disney+ be expanding to Europe, but the streaming service will also make its way to India via Hotstar — another Disney-owned streamer. The company will rebrand Hotstar’s VIP and premium subscription tiers to Disney+ Hotstar, Iger revealed, and the service will debut on March 29, just in time for the Indian Premier League Cricket season.

Iger also told listeners that Disney is planning on giving Hulu an international boost as well, once Disney+ is established overseas. “We are working up a plan to take Hulu internationally … But we’ve decided that the priority needs to be Disney+. We are launching across multiple territories in Western Europe later in March. And then in India, on March 29, and its going to continue to roll out across the world going into 2021 — including Latin America,” he said. “And we feel we need to concentrate on those launches and the marketing and the creation of product for those and then come in with Hulu right after or soon after that. So we don’t have specifics, except we do plan to begin rolling Hulu out, I’d say, probably in 2021. Internationally, that is, after the Disney+ launch.”

Yesterday, Disney announced Disney+ has amassed 26.5 million subscribers in their Q1 2020 earnings report. However, they shared that as of Monday they had 28.6 million subscribers — with 20 percent of those coming from their partnership with Verizon, 50 percent from the Disney+ website and the rest coming through partnerships with companies like Apple and Roku.

Disney also announced that Hulu now has 30.4 million subscribers, up from 29 million as reported last quarter, and ESPN+ reached 6.6 million subscribers in 2019.