There has been a lot of speculation lately about
‘s business in India, and some have suggested that the company may be planning to pull out of the market due to consistent losses. However, during a recent earnings call, CEO
made it clear that
is committed to the Indian market. He explained that while certain aspects of their operations have presented challenges, their linear business in India is actually profitable.
“In India, our linear business actually does quite well.
Yes, it’s making money. But we know that other parts of that business are challenged for us and for others. But we’re considering our options there. We have an opportunity to strengthen our hand,” said Iger during the Q3 earnings call.
In the fiscal quarter ending on September 30, 2023, Disney+ Hotstar had 37.6 million paid subscribers, which is a 7% decrease from the previous quarter when they had 40.4 million subscribers.
Iger further added, “It is now maybe the most populous country in the world and we’d like to stay in that market. But we’re also looking to see whether we can strengthen our hand obviously, improve the bottom line.”
Disney’s India dilemma
In 2019, Walt Disney acquired 21st
, including Star India, for $71 billion. Star India held the broadcasting rights for Indian Premier League cricket matches, though it lost the streaming rights to Mukesh Ambani’s
business caused a $444mn operating loss in the nine months ending on July 1, exceeding the previous fiscal year’s loss of $237mn.
Hotstar is said to have regained many subscribers and attracted millions of non-paying users to its platform, thanks to the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup. It is expected that in the next quarter, the company will report a significant increase in the number of subscribers and may even announce a new partner from India.
A former executive at Disney has revealed that there is an ongoing debate within the company concerning its business operations in India.“They have the biggest studio in India, a big TV business with Star, in the fastest-growing big economy in the world,” the person told the Financial Times. “Some want to sell that because the annual revenue per subscriber is low? It’s crazy.”
Disney is reportedly in talks with Reliance, and there have also been discussions with
and Kalanithi Maran’s Sun group, as well as private equity firms, and private equity groups regarding a potential sale or joint venture of its Star assets. Talks are still in the early stages, and Disney is exploring various possibilities for its Indian business, including selling some of its Indian operations or a mix of assets from the unit.
Walt Disney reported a revenue of $21.24 billion, which is an increase from the $20.1 billion they recorded in the same quarter of the previous year. Additionally, the company’s annual revenue increased by 7% from 2022 to 2023.