Disney Plus Hotstar Is Finally Inching Towards Release In The Philippines

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Thanks to Disney+ guru IAmRC32 for this exciting news update.

As Disney+ continues to prepare for numerous launches in May and June spanning Africa, Eastern Europe, and Central Europe, one region remains left in the dust. Unfortunately for Disney fans in Southeast Asia, a bizarre decision means that most of those countries receive an alternative, weaker service called Disney+ Hotstar. The good news is that Disney is finally hiring executives to run Disney+ Hotstar in the Philippines, making a fall release possible!

The Problems With Disney+ Hotstar

Disney+ Hotstar is not run by Disney Streaming and does not use the Bamtech platform that powers Disney+, Hulu, and Star+. Hotstar is run by another Disney subsidiary, Novi Digital Entertainment, that they acquired when they bought 20th Century Fox. Why they have allowed Novi Digital to continue operating in the DTC (Direct-To-Consumer) space confuses many insiders that believe Disney would be better suited with a consistent platform worldwide.

A quick scroll through social media shows that subscribers to these Disney+ Hotstar variations are not satisfied and would-be subscribers to future Hotstar territories dread it. The reasons are plentiful: Disney+ Hotstar seems to come from a late ’00s understanding of what streaming services should be. There are no user profiles (yes, you read that correctly), very limited 4K and HDR support, incorrect aspect ratios, only 2 simultaneous users at a time, no GroupWatch, no Simpsons aspect ratio toggle, and more. Hotstar shouldn’t exist, but it does. The primary reason Hotstar survived in India is that it also streams cricket and sporting events, but now that Star+ in Latin America brought sports to the Disney+ platform, that isn’t even a valid excuse anymore.

Recent Hotstar Launches

Disney+ Hotstar Marketing promo from previous launch in Malaysia

Disney+ Hotstar has many countries to cover, but unlike Disney+ proper, the Hotstar rollout has been slow as molasses. They only launched in 2 countries in 2021 (Malaysia and Thailand, both June) and 1 in 2020 (Indonesia). It’s long been rumored Philippines and Vietnam were next in line. There hasn’t even been talk about the other countries left behind: Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Timor-Leste, and Laos.

The Road To Disney+ Hotstar In The Philippines


The Philippines actually had a streaming service called DisneyLife which also operated in the UK. When they shut that service down, days before Disney+ UK launched, they left the Disney fans in the Philippines in the dark. It’s been over 2 years now since they took streaming away from the Philippines. That definitely could have been handled better. Last year they shut down the Disney TV channels in Southeast Asia, further isolating Disney fans in the Philippines and driving them towards piracy.

While there was hope that Disney+ would choose to launch the proper Disney+ platform in the Philippines, those hopes are now dashed as Disney has begun hiring for Hotstar positions. The good news is that these new positions give hope for a 2022 launch. So, while customers will not receive the proper Disney+ experience, at least they are finally on track to stream Disney content once again.

On Thursday, April 7th, listings were posted for the following positions:

Notable responsibilities are as follows:

Assistant Manager, Digital Experience

The primary purpose of this role is to help streamline the lifecycle, marketing & user experience strategy for every aspect of the Disney+ streaming product. The Digital Experience Assistant Manager will help optimise user digital experience and journey (Including partners & app stores digital experience), identify product prioritization based on marketing needs, support Disney+ new feature releases in testing and platform description updates, as well as monitor platform reliability; this person will play a vital support role in helping the CRM team to liaise with the product and tech team.

Manager, Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

This role is part of the Retention & Lifecycle team and is responsible for driving customer engagement and retention through the development, set up and optimisation of campaigns to support the key KPIs of acquisition, engagement, retention and customer lifetime value for Disney+ Hotstar.

Manager, Growth & Acquisition

This role will be instrumental in driving awareness of Disney+ brand and subscriber acquisition efforts for Disney’s streaming service, ensuring subscriber targets are delivered. The role will be the local expert and lead in providing market intel and looking at best opportunities and execution of campaigns as well as ensuring best possible messaging and delivery of assets.

Are you excited that Disney+ is finally getting somewhere in the Philippines?

Drew Ryan is a film, TV, and Disney geek. He has degrees in English, Student Personnel Administration, and Library & Information Science from Lawrence University, Concordia University-Wisconsin, and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Interested in the minutia and licensing of streaming service content, he is always publishing lists, suggestions, and advocating for Disney’s missing library to be added to Disney+. Drew subscribes to Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, HBO Max, and Paramount+. You can find him waxing nostalgic over classic Disney Channel or geeking out over Marvel, CW shows, & Disney on Twitter.