Disney+ Hotstar to premiere Bollywood films, bypassing theatres – Reuters

FILE PICTURE: A smart device with displayed “Disney” logo is seen on the keyboard in front of shown “Streaming service” words in this illustration taken March 24, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Walt Disney Cos streaming service Disney+ Hotstar plans to premiere seven huge ticket Bollywood films originally indicated for theatrical release this year, as it looks for to expand its lead in subscribers over rivals Netflix and Amazons Prime Video.
Mondays statement follows comparable moves in India by Netflix and Prime and deals a fresh blow to film theatre operators like PVR and Inox Leisure, which have actually seen a raft of likely box workplace strikes decide for digital releases due to theatre shutdowns in the COVID-19 pandemic.
” This is something that weve been thinking about for a long time. The pandemic offered this chance due to the fact that a variety of films that are prepared or about to be prepared dont have any clarity on when they can be released,” stated Uday Shankar, who heads Disneys operations in India.
India has alleviated limitations around its more than two-month long across the country lockdown, but multiplexes, theatres and malls mostly remain shut.
Streaming platforms like Amazon and Netflix have in the past signed offers with Indian studios for digital rights, however mainstream releases have prioritised theatrical earnings in the past.
Shankar said direct-to-digital releases were always on the horizon, due to a lack motion picture screens and limited release windows in India, but the lockdown had actually sped up the idea of launching films digitally.
Hotstar reported 300 million monthly active users last year. Many use the totally free, advertising-supported service, however Disney has stated it intends to convert a number of these users into paying customers.
Disney obtained Hotstar via its $71 billion purchase of Twenty-First Century Foxs film and television assets in 2019. It rebranded the service as Disney+ Hotstar in April.
Hotstar said the very first release, a Bollywood remake of the Hollywood hit “The Fault in Our Stars”, will be launched on July 24 this year.
Reporting by Shilpa Jamkhandikar; Editing by Euan Rocha and Mark Potter

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