HBO’s Exit From Disney+ Hotstar: Why Is HBO Content Leaving Disney+

Why Disney ended the content deal with HBO?

HBO’s exit from Disney + Hotstar is the dawn of gloom for OTT binge-watchers like you. All of us have watched exclusive shows like Game of Thrones, The Last of Us, House of Dragons, etc. Little knowing the fact that one day these shows will leave the ground of Hotstar after 31st March 2023. Now your mind will pile up with many questions like why Disney ended the content deal with HBO. Will you be able to watch the season finale of Succession and Barry or season 2 of Perry Mason? If not, then where can you watch HBO shows in India?

Why Disney ended the content deal with HBO?

We’ll look to answer all these queries in this article.

Stay tuned!

Why did Disney end the content deal with HBO?

As we know, HBO has been a key content provider for the platform. It offered numerous super hit shows to stream on the platform of Disney+ Hotstar. Some of the popular ones were Game of Thrones, Westworld, The Sopranos, and so on. Everything was smooth till the last five years. So where did things go wrong? The root cause is “Contract Renewal.” 

Really? Yes! Let me give you a quick recap. 

In December 2015, Hotstar India (Walt Disney Co-acquired Star India) and HBO (Warner Bros. Discovery) finalized a programming deal. This deal offered exclusive rights over the HBO content to Hotstar (Star India). As a result, you enjoyed a wide variety of shows on this OTT platform.

But, as soon as they entered the phase of contract renewal, things got bitter between the two entertainment giants! Especially for the Indian audience.

Why Disney ended the content deal with HBO?

Executive’s statement on why Disney ended the content deal with HBO

HBO demanded $10 million a year for the next five years. In other words, to fulfill this deal Disney+ Hotstar would have to pay a whopping amount of money. That is, INR 80 crore per year to stream HBO content. And that too for a small segment of subscribers according to the company’s executive. Continuing the statement, the executive said that the watch time of HBO content is less than 1/5th as compared to other Disney content. That is streamed by Lucas Films, Disney animation, Marvel Studio, Pixar, etc. In short, to commence the deal, Hotstar needs to pay the highest package for the lowest revenue-earning content. Therefore, they called off the deal. Now the non-renewal of the contract between Hotstar and HBO makes sense! Isn’t it?

Also, the former CEO of Disney Bob Iger announced several plans to cut $5.5 billion in costs that include $3 billion in non-sports-related content. Recently, Disney had a major lay-off too. It fired over 7000 employees.

However, this is not the end! You can continue to enjoy the enormous library of Hotstar shows that spans 100,000 hours of series, movies, and sports events. And that too in more than 10 languages. 

Impact on Disney+ Hotstar due to HBO’s content removal 

Impact of the exit

The exit of HBO’s content from Disney+ Hotstar is going to have a significant impact on the latter’s revenue, advertisers, and subscriptions. According to some industry players, despite a small revenue earning segment, the loss will be at a higher peak i.e. 25-30% in total in the beginning. It will negatively impact the OTT streamer’s paid subscribers in India. However, it would not matter too much because Hotstar drives a significant portion of the audience from catch-up television content. Instead of HBO content’s exit, Hotstar is likely to suffer a bigger blow due to the loss of IPL content streaming. The subscriptions will continue to go out of the hands of Hotstar towards June 2023. Why? You may ask! Because you won’t be able to watch the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Hotstar anymore. Not even women’s IPL for which you were waiting desperately!

But you know what! Disney is a quick-witted company. Do you think an entertainment giant will sit tight if it genuinely faces losses from the goodbye of HBO and IPL content? Of course not! It decided to get rid of the two because it was ready to face the consequences. Ultimately, it wants to get rid of those subscribers who seek only HBO and IPL’s content. Also, like other entertainment giants like Zee and Sony, Star India (Hotstar) wants to focus on the key content. The key contents like indigenous series and movies majorly contribute to its revenue.

Popular shows on Hotstar that will be unavailable in India on HBOs exit

Here, we are providing a list of shows that will be unavailable for Indian audiences after HBO’s exit.

  • Game of Thrones
  • House of Dragon
  • The Succession
  • Band of Brothers
  • Obama
  • The Wire
  • Mare of Easttown
  • Scenes from a marriage
  • The Gilded Age
  • The Sopranos
  • The Nevers
  • We Own this City
  • The Last of Us
  • Mind of Murder
  • Watchmen
  • Perry Mason

Where to watch HBO shows in India?


Coming to the most crucial part of this article. Now you know why Disney ended the content deal with HBO. So, you must be curious to find alternative ways to watch those unavailable shoes. Exploring Torrents to VPN, netizens in India are using a cent percent of their brain to view HBO content. As per the latest report from TechCrunch, you can view all the HBO content on Amazon Prime.

Did you know last year HBO had already signed a deal with amazon giving streaming rights to HBO content? Although there has been no official news from HBO regarding its alternate platform in India after its farewell from Disney + Hotstar. But Amazon is likely to expand the deal with Warner Bros Discovery of HBO to stream HBO Max originals in India. Also, industry analysts are anticipating that Amazon Prime Video is a perfect and logical fit for HBO. You will find the HBO content in it either as a part of SVoD or on HBO Max Channel.  (Note: SVod refers to Subscription Video on Demand).

Even after March 31, 2023; you can watch some of the existing HBO shows on Amazon Prime Video. Some of the popular streaming shows on Prime Video are-

Popular shows of HBO on Amazon Prime

  • Gossip Girl
  • Peacemaker
  • The Flight Attendant
  • Raised by Wolves
  • And Just Like That

Final Thoughts

By now you must have realized that you won’t be able to view HBO’s content in Disney + Hotstar anymore after 31st March 2023. You may miss out on many popular shows on this platform. We answered the most anticipated query- why Disney ended the content deal with HBO. So, for now, you can count on Amazon Prime for viewing HBO’s content. Also, we provided alternate solutions for the same. Let’s see what happens next!

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Published By: Supti Nandi
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