Astro, Disney team up for Disney+ Hotstar

This could mean lower bills for subscribers and Astro getting a cut from Disney+ Hotstar’s subscription revenue


STREAMING has definitely gained ground in areas with highspeed broadband; hence, the collaboration between Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd and The Walt Disney Co could be a good deal for both parties, said an analyst.

Speaking under anonymity, the analyst said with the government initiating Jalinan Digital Negara, or Jendela, Malaysia’s Internet penetration will rise to its target, which will allow more people to stream instead of watching TV on the broadcasting wave.

“This could also mean lower bills for subscribers and Astro getting a cut from Disney+ Hotstar’s subscription revenue, in return for doing the marketing for it in Malaysia,” the analyst said to The Malaysian Reserve, adding that Astro is moving with the times and on course with market demand.

Yesterday, Astro and Disney announced their collaboration for the Disney+ Hotstar streaming platform, which will be launched on June 1.

In a statement, Astro said it will be the official distributor of Disney+ Hotstar in Malaysia, and customers could subscribe to the streaming platform through the Movies Pack for an additional RM5 each month.

Astro CEO Henry Tan expressed the group’s excitement to be the official distributor, aggregating more world-class content on its platform.

“Soon, customers can enjoy the line-up from Disney+ Hotstar in addition to the much-loved Astro hits, local signatures, originals and live sports, making us the entertainment destination for Malaysians.”

Disney Taiwan, Hong Kong and South-East Asia GM David Shin shared Tan’s sentiments.

“This is an important milestone for us as we continue expanding our footprint in South-East Asia to bring our compelling entertainment offering to consumers in the region.

“Malaysians are not only connected, but also extremely techsavvy, and they represent some of Disney’s biggest fans in the region.”

Customers will be able to enjoy content from a variety of providers including The National Geographic, Disney, Pixar, Marvel and others.

“Disney+ Hotstar is the highly anticipated streaming service which will feature over 800 films and 18,000 episodes of the biggest Disney favourites, Star Wars blockbusters, Pixar animations, the Marvel universe and documentaries from National Geographic and Malaysian hits,” Astro said.

Underpinning its support for the local film community, Disney+ Hotstar has entered into a series of multi-year agreements with leading Malaysian studios such as Skop Productions Sdn Bhd, Revolution Media Films, Primeworks Studios Sdn Bhd, WAU Animation Sdn Bhd, Act 2 Pictures Sdn Bhd, Les’ Copaque Production and Red Films Sdn Bhd, among others.

With these agreements, Disney+ Hotstar will be the exclusive home to some of Malaysia’s most anticipated blockbusters such as “J2: J Retribusi”, “J Revolusi”, “Zombitopia”, “Ada Hantu” and “Ejen Ali The Movie 2”.

Customers can subscribe directly to Disney+ Hotstar for RM54.90 for three months, or via special packages with Astro. It will also be available on the mobile app, tablets and connected TV.

“We are working towards making Disney+ Hotstar available via the Ultra and Ulti-connected boxes later this year. We will keep our customers updated with new announcements,” Astro said.

Each registered account can support two concurrent streams, with all content commercial-free, with a dedicated kid’s section with age-appropriate content and a kid-friendly, easy-to-navigate user interface.

Since launching in 2019, Disney+ has garnered more than 100 million subscribers for its platform, while expanding to 59 countries globally, including the Asia Pacific, Latin America, Europe and North America.

Rumours were already in the air about the tie-up between the two, which prompted concern from local players in the industry prior to it.