Recently, Disney revealed that it would be shutting down its Hotstar streaming platform for viewers in the United States in 2022. They have already started to move the Hotstar content to Hulu and ESPN+.
They have also started a migration process for their Hotstar users by offering a Disney + Streaming Bundle to bring over as many Hotstar users as possible.
Unfortunately, all three streaming platforms are geographically restricted for many countries worldwide. While Hotstar is available in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, Hulu and ESPN+ are strictly restricted to the viewers in the United States.
With the territorial restrictions to remain present in the near future, it seems that these streaming services won’t be available in many parts of the world. But there’s still hope. Yes, you heard us right.
By connecting to a virtual private network, you can bypass these geographical restrictions and get unlimited, unrestricted, and uninterrupted access to Hulu, Hotstar, and Disney+. For example, our readers in Australia can keep up with their favorite shows on these three streaming platforms. To learn more about it, visit howtowatchinaustralia.com.
While the current Disney+ announcement is for the viewers in the United States, Hotstar will still be available to the users in Singapore, Canada, and the United Kingdom. However, it is most likely that soon the same restrictions will be applied to the rest of the countries as well.
Why the Hotstar Merger with Hulu, ESPN+, and Disney+ Makes More Sense
Before we see how this merger makes sense, let’s look at what could be the possible way forward for Disney+ to make these changes.
If Disney+ decides to move the whole content on the same day, it will overwhelm the application with too much content, and it is very much likely that Disney+ and Hotstar users will get frustrated simultaneously.
There’s also some issue with the application’s user interface or web interface design. Hulu has already done its part by creating a separate tab called Hotstar Hub that allows you to stream content that was originally available on Hotstar.
But, Hulu has an advantage over other services. This streaming giant has continuously offered content that is a part of some other bigger network. So integrating the Hotstar content with its library would never be an issue for Hulu.
Right now, Disney+ doesn’t have a core brand in which the Hotstar content could easily fit. But simply creating a collection page of the Hotstar content wouldn’t be sufficient for the Hotstar users.
What Disney+ needs right now is to provide a complete functionality to Hotstar viewers in which it can easily highlight the new and latest Hotstar content and the best and most popular TV shows and movies at Hotstar at any given time.
It’d be nice if Disney+ could establish something like Hulu’s Hotstar Hub, and it can repeat the same process for other production companies such as FX, ABC, or 20th Century Fox.
The merging of Hotstar with the three big streaming giants makes sense on many different levels.
Operating a streaming service is never easy or cheap. Bringing their content together into fewer streaming platforms will reduce expenses and subscribers.
Also, Disney+ has already merged with Hotstar in India, with millions of subscribers. Repeating the same technique in other countries shouldn’t seem or be impossible.
Another advantage of this merging would be that most of the Hotstar content comes equipped with subtitles and dubbing. This way, more people worldwide can enjoy TV shows and movies in their native language.
In the United States, Disney+ just moved Hotstar’s sporting content directly to ESPN+, but there is one issue with the United Kingdom and Canada. In the United Kingdom, BT Sports is operating ESPN, and in Canada, ESPN is a minority in the Sports Network.
As a solution, Disney+ could simply make a deal in a sub-contract coverage out to the highest bidder such as Sky Sports or Amazon. But, with the induction of the third parties, it could become difficult or harder.
Once Disney+ started rebranding Hotstar last year with user interfaces, colors, and visuals similar to that of Disney+, the merger took one step further.
Another reason to support this merger is that it becomes relatively easy and simple for users with fewer streaming platforms. A simple approach makes more sense in an all-out war against other streaming platforms.
With Disney+ already committed to merging Hotstar content with Hulu, ESPN+ in the United States, it is highly likely that the same will happen in the United Kingdom and Canada.
While we can understand that the Hotstar content isn’t for everyone but with Netflix and Amazon heavily targeting the Indian audience and market, it’s high time for Disney+ to utilize the Hotstar content and do the same worldwide.