Analyst: India, Cricket to Drive Disney+ Sub Growth

‘The Mandalorian” has met its match: Cricket. Both entertainment choices in the U.S. and India look to drive Disney+ global subscriber growth over the next five years.

Based on September 2020 results, Digital TV Research expects five global over-the-top video platforms to have 678 million paying subscribers by 2025. Disney+ will add 112 million subs between 2020 and 2025 to take its total to 194 million — about what had through Sept. 30. Netflix will increase by 73 million subs — underscoring strong growth even for the SVOD pioneer.

Driving Disney+ sub growth will be ongoing service launches in the U.S. and India — the latter accounting for 25% of the service’s subscribers through Sept. 30. Why? The sport of professional cricket played in India.

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When Disney acquired 21st Century Fox’s assets, it assumed control of Hotstar, India’s top OTT video platform. Over the summer Disney quietly launched Disney+ Hotstar in the region, in addition to further Disney+ expansion in Europe.

Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, said initial sub growth at Disney+ came from the U.S., mainly due to the discounted price bundle of Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu, and 12-month access for Verizon customers. More recently, India’s Disney+ Hotstar subs count has rocketed due to its coverage of IPL cricket.

“The U.S. and India will account for nearly half of Disney+’ subscriber base by 2025,” Murray said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Netflix’s revenue will reach $37 billion by 2025 — up by $17 billion on its 2019 total. Disney+ will generate $13 billion by 2025 — impressive since it only started service a year ago. However, this is a lot lower than Netflix due to lower ARPUs charged in developing markets.

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