(Updated)

Astro and Walt Disney team up to launch Disney+ Hotstar streaming service in Malaysia on June 1

Astro and Walt Disney team up to launch Disney+ Hotstar streaming service in Malaysia on June 1
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KUALA LUMPUR (May 4): The Disney+ Hotstar streaming platform, a collaboration between Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd and The Walt Disney Company, will be launched in Malaysia on June 1.

This confirms a report by theedgemarkets.com yesterday that Disney+ is coming to Malaysia via its own streaming platform and also through working relationships with platforms such as Astro.

In statements today, the companies said viewers can enjoy content from several providers including Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, the National Geographic as well as a wide array of general entertainment series and films for young adult audiences, and home-grown and Asian hits through the streaming service.

Consumers can subscribe directly to Disney+ Hotstar for RM54.90 for three months, or through special packages with Astro, for access to an extensive collection of content.

Meanwhile, Astro said the streaming service is working towards making it available via its Ultra and Ulti connected boxes later this year.

Disney+ Hotstar will be available to its Movies Pack customers for an additional RM5 per month, while its non-Movies Pack customers may access the streaming service via other bundles, said Astro. From today onwards, customers can sign up for the Movies Pack bundle that comes with Disney+ Hotstar.

General manager of Walt Disney for Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia David Shin said this collaboration with Astro marks an important milestone for the group as it continues expanding its footprint in Southeast Asia to bring its compelling entertainment offerings to consumers in the region.

“Malaysians are not only connected, but also extremely tech-savvy and they represent some of Disney’s biggest fans in the region. We are tremendously excited to be able to deliver a wide array of content for everyone of all ages through our world-class platform, covering the best from Disney’s brands across a multitude of genres,” he said in a statement today.

Meanwhile, Astro group chief executive officer (CEO) Henry Tan said: “We are delighted to aggregate the best of the best to be the undisputed entertainment destination for Malaysians. Our customers deserve great entertainment and the addition of Disney+ Hotstar with our much-loved hits, local signatures and unparalleled sports would delight them.

“This is a great start to an action-packed year where we will be aggregating subscription-based video-on-demand (SVOD) streaming services, giving our customers the widest variety of entertainment to choose from, value and convenience,” he added.

According to a CNA report last week, The Walt Disney Company said it is "consolidating its Media Networks business primarily in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong" as part of the company's "global effort to pivot towards a direct-to-consumer-first model and further grow" its streaming services.

Since its launch in November 2019, Disney+ has signed up more than 100 million subscribers for its streaming platform and steadily expanded the geographical coverage of its services to 59 countries around the world, including North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America.

Meanwhile, Astro also has arrangements with other streaming players, namely the US’ HBO GO and China’s iQIYI.

Other than Disney+ originals such as The Mandalorian and High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, Marvel Studios’ WandaVision, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier and Loki, Disney+ Hotstar has also entered into a series of multi-year agreements with leading Malaysian studios to support the local film community.

These multi-year agreements mean that Disney+ Hotstar will exclusively offer Malaysian movies that will skip theatres and launch straight on the streaming service, such as J2: J Retribusi, the explosive action-packed sequel to the blockbuster J Revolusi, Zombitopia, Ejen Ali The Movie 2 as well as top-rated local prime-time drama series.

As of 11.15am today, shares in Astro were 0.98% or a sen higher at RM1.03, valuing it at RM5.37 billion, with 1.37 million shares done so far.

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Astro rises on Disney+ Hotstar deal

Lam Jian Wyn