Disney+ Hotstar announces new original ‘The Freelancer‘ | Mint – Mint

Disney+ Hotstar has announced a new original The Freelancer starring Mohit Raina and Anupam Kher, created by filmmaker Neeraj Pandey.
The loss of Indian Premier League (IPL) streaming rights blew a hole in the subscriber base of Disney+ Hotstar in the June quarter, with 12.5 million users choosing not to renew their subscriptions. Walt Disney Co. said the subscriber base at its video streaming platform shrank 24% from 52.9 million to 40.4 million, the sharpest fall in any quarter yet.
Disney+ Hotstar has been witness to a steady decline in its subscriber base in recent months; the service, which had 61.3 million subscribers at the end of September 2022, has lost more than 20 million—or 34.18% of subscribers—since then.
In June 2022, Walt Disney spent 23,575 crore to buy television broadcast rights for the IPL tournament for five years, beginning 2023, but gave up the coveted digital media rights to Viacom18 that bid 23,758 crore.
Apart from the IPL, the platform has stopped streaming some popular international content. Starting 31 March, Disney Star has removed 144 HBO originals as the company decided against extending its longstanding content deal with Warner Bros. Discovery, a global media and entertainment company and the parent firm of HBO.
This pivot hinges on a multi-pronged strategy. First, and most critically, Disney+ Hotstar wants to build on local originals whose intellectual property resides solely with Disney, across multiple Indian languages. Second, it wishes to utilize the shelf life of television programming from Star India’s satellite TV channels, such as Star Plus, Star Vijay and others. Third, it is likely to reiterate the draw of original Disney content—including Marvel, Star Wars and Pixar franchises—to satiate the demand for international programming. Fourth, it hopes to cash in on the pull of movies, both streamed directly on the Hotstar platform or acquired post their theatrical release. Last, the strategy is to stack up on a sports portfolio. Even without the IPL, the platform hosts other premium cricket, football and tennis properties.
Further, the company has announced a reduction of workforce by 7,000; it is targeting $5.5 billion in cost savings across verticals, including $3 billion in savings on the content side alone, excluding sports.
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