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Here is the reason why Disney+ Hotstar is ending its partnership with HBO

The disagreement on HBO's asking price of $10 million yearly for a five-year deal was a contentious issue between the two entertainment giants

disney | HBO | Hotstar

Ashli Varghese  |  New Delhi 

Disney Hotstar
Disney Hotstar

The reason for the dawn of despair amongst fans on where to stream the season finale of Succession and Barry, and binge-watch their favourites like The Last of US, House of the Dragon, and Game of Thrones, with the end of the deal between Disney+ and HBO, is the inability to find common ground.

The disagreement on HBO's asking price of $10 million yearly for a five-year deal was a contentious issue between the two entertainment giants. reportedly offered an "insufficient value", as a result of which 144 originals will cease to broadcast on the Disney+ after March 31.

The programming deal finalised in December 2015 between Walt Co-acquired Star India and Time Warner-owned (now Warner Bros. Discovery) gave exclusive rights over the content. This was due to be renewed on March 31 2023, when HBO was to be paid $10 million a year for five years. However, decided against renewing the deal.

"Starting March 31, HBO content will be unavailable on Disney+ . You can continue enjoying Disney+ Hotstar's vast library of content spanning over 100,000 hours of TV shows and movies in 10 languages and coverage of major global sporting events." read a social media post by Disney+ Hotstar.

Disney+ Hotstar would have been required to pay Rs 80 crore per year for HBO content, viewed by only a small number of subscribers, as noted by a company executive. The watch time of the HBO content is less than 1/5th, in contrast with other Disney+ content, films and originals streamed by Marvel Studio, Pixar, Disney Animation and LucasFilm. Therefore even if purchasing the highest package, the revenue earned will be less for the company, reported Mint.

As of 2022, Disney+ Hotstar has around 57.5 million paid subscribers. In the December quarter, the platform lost 3.8 million subscribers after the company lost the rights to the Indian Premier League when Mukesh Ambani-led Viacom18 won the rights for Rs 23,758 crore. As a result, Disney suffered the loss of streaming IPL's digital rights from 2023-2027. It also lost the rights to stream Formula 1 racing, thus making the platform less attractive to sports enthusiasts.

In India, Disney+ Hotstar offers multiple subscription plans- two mobile plans with ads and a three-month plan for Rs 149, an annual plan for Rs 499, a super ad-supported plan for Rs 899, and a premium ad-free plan- for Rs 299(monthly) and Rs 1499 (annual).

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First Published: Thu, March 16 2023. 15:18 IST