Disney Sells Streaming Service and 630+ TV Channels, Relinquishes All Responsibility

in Disney

CEO Bob Iger in front of Disney HQ

Credit: Disney

Disney has officially sold its shares in a streaming service and over 630 TV channels.

It’s no secret that Disney has struggled in the world of streaming. While it may have introduced Disney+ to great acclaim (and millions of subscribers) in 2019, these numbers spent the next few years dropping to levels so concerning that CEO Bob Iger was brought out of retirement to steer the company back onto the right path.

Bob Iger speaking at a podium against a blue-lit backdrop.
Credit: Disney

Fortunately, it seems to have been worth the effort. Earlier this month, Disney’s Q2 earnings report revealed that Disney+ was profitable for the first time ever – two quarters ahead of schedule.

Disney has worked hard to make this possible, implementing measures such as two subscription options (one with ads and one without), restricting password sharing, and integrating Hulu content into the app.

Disney+ logo with Iron Man, Darth Vader, Elastigirl, Moana
Credit: Disney+

It’s also put just as much effort into addressing its streaming interests beyond Disney+. Not only is Hulu now available as a bundle with Disney+, but ESPN+ will soon undergo the same treatment.

In December, it also decided to axe its Hulu equivalent of Star+ in Latin America. The service featured Disney’s more “mature” content, such as TV shows and films released via Freeform, 20th Television Animation, Searchlight Television, 20th Century Studios, and National Geographic, all of which have now been integrated into Disney+ in these countries.

A hand holding a phone with the Disney+ app open
Credit: Mika Baumeister via Unsplash

That aligns with how other locations already accessed Star+ content. In the likes of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates, audiences have long been able to watch all the movies and TV shows found on Star+ – such as Only Murders in the BuildingFamily GuyBob’s Burgers, and Modern Family – through a section of Disney+ labeled “Star.”

This week, it was announced that Disney also plans to abandon another streaming platform elsewhere in the world. According to Bloomberg, The Walt Disney Company has agreed to sell its 29.8% minority stake in a subscription television broadcaster to the Tata Group.

The subscription service in question is Tata Play, which provides over 630 TV channels through its set-top boxes and also offers streaming through its app of the same name.

The image shows the Tata Play logo. "TATA" is written in bold, black, uppercase letters, and "PLAY" is written in bold, magenta, uppercase letters. The text is set against a white background, representing a diverse streaming service that offers various TV channels.
Credit: Tata Play

This news isn’t totally out of the blue. In February, Inside the Magic covered reports that Disney was trying to back out of the Indian market by selling its stake in Tata Play to Reliance Industries. Not long after, Disney sold its Indian operations to Reliance, forming Star India Private Limited (in which Disney has a 36.84% share).

“India is the world’s most populous market, and we are excited for the opportunities that this joint venture will provide to create long-term value for the company,” Iger said at the time. “Reliance has a deep understanding of the Indian market and consumer, and together, we will create one of the country’s leading media companies, allowing us to better serve consumers with a broad portfolio of digital services and entertainment and sports content.”

Do you think Disney has made a mistake by pulling out of India? Share your thoughts with Inside the Magic in the comments!

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