Disney+ Hotstar Takes Subscriber Lead Over Netflix in Growing Indonesia: Study

'The Mandalorian'
Disney+/2020 Lucasfilm Ltd.

'The Mandalorian'

Thanks to a local content acquisition strategy and a partnership with the leading local telecom company, Disney+ Hotstar already has hit 2.5 million subscribers in Indonesia, compared to just 850,000 for Netflix.

As the streaming wars heat up worldwide, Disney+ Hotstar has already staked out a sizable lead over Netflix in Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous country.

The streaming business is still at a very early stage of development in Indonesia's emerging market, with just 3 percent of the country's population of 270 million subscribing to SVOD services, according to a new report from leading regional consultancy Media Partners Asia (MPA).

As of Jan. 16, Disney+ Hotstar had 2.5 million subscribers in Indonesia, followed by local Southeast Asian streaming companies Viu and Vidio, with 1.5 million and 1.1 million subscribers, respectively — and with Netflix trailing in fourth place with just 850,000 subs.

The launch of Disney+ Hotstar in September helped drive a spike in overall SVOD usage in the country. Just prior to Disney's local launch, Indonesia had an estimated 3.4 million paying streaming subscribers, but by Jan. 16, total subs had surged 106 percent to approximately 7 million, MPA's research shows.

"The growth of SVOD in Indonesia, the most populous market in Asia after China and India, is encouraging but has a long way to go," said MPA vp Anthony Dobson, noting that just 10 percent of Indonesian households currently are streaming subscribers. But as "investment in local and Asian content accelerates" there will be "significant scope for future growth," he added.

Disney+ Hotstar's streaming offering in Indonesia includes movies, series and factual content from Disney, Fox, Marvel, LucasFilm, Pixar and National Geographic and Disney+ originals, as well as over 250 local Indonesian films. Disney has gotten its strong start in the country thanks to a two-year exclusive mobile partnership with wireless network provider Telkomsel, which allows the telco to bundle and market Disney+ Hotstar with its mobile data plans. Disney+ Hotstar's average monthly subscription prices in Indonesia range from $0.80 to $1.40 for Telkomsel users or $1.10 to $2.60 for direct subscribers — significantly less than Netflix's mobile plan, which runs $3.6 per month (other Netflix tiers are priced between $8.10 and $12.50 in Indonesia).

"Disney's [local] content acquisition strategy has further emboldened its attractiveness to Indonesian consumers," MPA's researchers said. More than 20 percent of all Disney+ Hotstar minutes consumed in Indonesia in December 2020 were delivered by locally acquired Indonesian content.

The Mandalorian also has proved a surprise breakthrough with Indonesian audiences, despite the fact that the Star Wars franchise historically has underperformed in the country. Both seasons of the hit Disney+ Original were among Indonesia's most-watched pieces of content on streaming platforms in the fourth quarter of 2020. "It seems that The Mandalorian may be acting as a 'bridgehead' attracting Indonesians to the Star Wars franchise in numbers not previously seen," MPA observed.