Monday, April 19

Disney+ Hotstar finally launches in India: Here’s what’s new


Disney+ has finally launched in India. The streaming service is available in India via Hotstar and through a rebranded Disney+ Hostar app.

The launch marks Disney’s grander foray in India’s booming streaming market. Hotstar is already a big player in the segment with a big content catalogue including live TV channels and cricket tournaments like the IPL.

For those unaware, Hotstar is owned by Disney. The chain starts with the Walt Disney Company acquiring 21st Century Fox which owns Star India, the parent company of Hotstar.

Here’s what’s new on the revamped Disney+ Hotstar app.

New logo

Prior to the official India launch, Hotstar changed its logo to Disney+ Hotstar. It’s the same as the one seen in a brief beta release last month. But it’s still a big difference from the old green and yellow star logo for Hotstar. The new one is clad in Disney’s iconic blue colour.

For Disney fans

The most important bit of this upgrade is the integration of Disney+ content. There’s a separate section for Disney+ on the app where users will find all the available content. Disney+ section essentially replaces the news section on the older Hotstar app. Even under this there will be categories for different Disney+ content like Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic.

There’s a ‘Recommended For You’ section which currently contains titles The Mandalorian, The Jungle Book and The Lion King. Below this you’ll find a ‘New to Disney+’ tab followed by ‘Hit Movies’, Originals’, Trending’ and more. Down at the bottom, you’ll find kids content like Mickey and Friends, Lilo & Stitch, Tangled and more.

Disney+ is available as a new and separate section on the app.

Disney+ is available as a new and separate section on the app. ( Disney+ Hotstar/Screenshot )

Parental controls

Speaking of which, Disney+ Hotstar comes with parental controls. There’s a ‘Kids Safe’ mode which can be turned on for age-appropriate content. Parents can turn on this feature by tapping on the hamburger icon on top and toggling on the Kids Safe feature.

UI changes

Unfortunately, there isn’t any big difference in the upgraded Disney+ Hotstar app. You will still find the old familiar UI that was available on Hotstar. One tiny change here is that the ‘crown’ and ‘star’ icon for premium and VIP subscriptions respectively. These are now identified as simply ‘P’ and ‘V’.

Subscription plans

Disney+ Hotstar will be offered with two subscription plans – VIP and Premium. The VIP plan is priced at Rs 399 per year and it comes with the entire Marvel catalogue, kids entertainment, Bollywood movies, Hotstar Specials and more.

The Disney+ Hotstar Premium plan gets everything under VIP along with access to Disney+ originals like The Mandalorian.

Existing Hotstar customers will continue with their subscription plans. Once the subscription expires, they will move to the upgraded plans and pay the remainder.