New Data Finds Netflix, Disney+ Sentimental Opposites in India

As the subscription streaming video pioneer and first global SVOD service, Netflix dominates throughout much of the Asia-Pacific region, including in countries such as Australia and Malaysia. Yet, Netflix is losing favor in one of the region’s most populated countries, India, with consumer sentiment down year-over-year while sentiment for rival service Disney+ is up through May 2021, according to new information from GlobalData.

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Much of change has to do with the pandemic and interest in the sport of cricket, the latter the country’s national pasttime, whose professional league’s streaming rights are held by Disney streaming subsidiary Hotstar. Disney acquired Hotstar as part of its $71 billion acquisition of select 21th Century Fox entertainment assets.

Hotstar now represents a third (33%) of the 103 million global subscriber footprint of Disney+.

“Despite a year-on-year dip in market share in India during 2020, Netflix’s sentiments were much higher than Disney during the year,” Rinaldo Pereira, senior business fundamentals analyst at GlobalData, said in a statement. “In 2021, the company’s sentiments have dipped and are lower than Disney’s.”

During 2020, Netflix used a free weekend strategy to gain subscriptions in India, and the strategy worked. Yet, Disney gained even more subscribers due to its edge in pricing and local content, i.e. cricket, offerings.

Both Netflix and Disney have recognized the need to address the domestic market by adjusting price points and driving a mobile-centric strategy. Pereira expects further Netflix sub growth in India despite growing competition. At the same time, Disney + Hotstar is likely to remain in the top spot, with net sub additions plateauing in 2022.

Indeed, the company had twice as many mentions on social media compared to Netflix in 2020. Netflix’s India and APAC related social media mentions peaked in 2018 and have been on the downtrend since.

“For Disney and Netflix, geopolitics was among the top themes in [social media] sentences, in line with the Indian government’s new information technology rules in 2021,” Pereira said. “With Indian consumers unlikely to subscribe to every platform, companies with the right price points and the best local content will make the most of [the country’s] booming market.”

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