Disney+ India is postponing its planned launch in the wake of news that the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament has been delayed due to the coronavirus. The plan was to launch the service on March 29 through India’s local streamer Hotstar, with hopes that the Hotstar audiences would then check out Disney+, but now Disney is taking a wait-and-see approach.

There’s no new date for the delayed Disney+ India launch, but the company has said the release is only “briefly paused.” This comes on the heels of the cricket tournament being delayed on Hotstar, the major streamer where Disney+ was set to debut. Disney also canceled a press conference on Disney+’s India plans due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Regarding the delay, Uday Shankar, President of The Walt Disney Company APAC and Chairman of Star & Disney India said:

“We recently announced that Disney+ would launch in India through the Hotstar service in conjunction with the beginning of the Indian Premier League cricket season…Given the delay of the season, we have made the decision to briefly pause the roll-out of Disney+ and will announce a new revised premiere date for the service soon.”

The IPL cricket tournament is Hotstar’s biggest attraction. Per TechCrunch, the service drew “more than 25 million viewers simultaneously” during a game. The service amassed “over 300 million monthly active users and 100 million daily active users during the tail end of the IPL season last year.” Hotstar is an Indian over-the-top streaming service owned by Novi Digital Entertainment, a subsidiary of Star India. Launched in 2015, Hotstar features two paid subscription tiers – one focusing on “domestic programs and sports content (including Indian Premier League cricket)”, and another “premium” tier that features “premium international films and television series (including HBO and Showtime original series).”

Disney purchased Hotstar in 2019 as part of its big Fox deal. The plan is to replace Hotstar VIP and Premium tiers with a new service know as “Disney+ Hotstar”, with one tier providing access to Disney’s library, and a premium tier offering access to Disney+ originals.

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