How does Digitization make Walt Disney a success in India?

Disney India was digitized for the first time in 2013. It had announced a restructuring of the company’s digital assets. This was done in order to better drive the growth in video, audio, and gaming services for online, mobile, and interactive TV.

Walt Disney’s Digitalization

The new division- DisneyUTV Digital –combines the businesses and talent from Disney, UTV, and Indiagames. The contents from Marvel, Disney, UTV, Bindass®, along with original content and games will now be developed and managed by the team of Disney UTV Digital.

The digital division of Disney India is spearheaded by Vishal Gondal as Managing Director. Samir Bangara also Managing Director of the division and Vishal will work in collaboration to drive DisneyUTV’s future growth.


The Walt Disney Company India Private Limited, also known as Disney India, is the Indian subsidiary of the American media and entertainment conglomerate The Walt Disney Company. It has its headquarters in Mumbai, Maharashtra. As of March 2019, after the acquisition of 21st Century Fox by Disney, which also included Star India, the (erstwhile) biggest Indian television broadcaster, Disney became the biggest television broadcaster in India. Walt Disney India was formed in August 1993 after a licensing agreement, as a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company and Modi Enterprises.

Disney filed in October 2001 with the Foreign Investment Promotion Board to create a new wholly-owned subsidiary company to launch the Disney Channel in India. Disney got the initial approval from the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion for the subsidiary. At the end of the 10-year licensing agreement, Modi and Disney could not come to a new agreement. They ended the joint venture agreement in August 2003.

Changes Due to Digitization

●  Partnering with Netflix

Digitization of the media has successfully replaced traditional DVDs and CDs. In 2012, Disney made an agreement with Netflix that holds a 64% market OTT share with almost 120 million subscribers in the US. They agreed to bring all films of the studio including the live-action movies by Disney and Pixar’s franchises, exclusively to Netflix.

●  BamTech

Disney was initially unsuccessful in releasing its first Disney app in the UK. After that Disney purchased a 75% stake in MLB’s streaming company called BAMTech in 2017. The goal was to double down on the company’s streaming effort.

Additionally, Disney unveiled two new BAMTech premium streaming services — one focused on sports programming and available via ESPN Apps (launched in Spring 2018) and another focused-on film and television shows (launched in 2019).

●  Original Television Shows

Launching their own streaming app and previously having partnered with Netflix, Disney had announced its intention of producing their own television shows. They had produced popular shows like Daredevil, Punisher, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones in collaboration with their subsidiary Marvel. Disney also partnered with Snapchat in 2015 to produce temporary stories as part of its efforts to attract a younger audience.

●  Subscription-Based Service

Disney upon its digitization, upgraded its service to be based on subscription. Premium account holders can watch their favorite shows and save the upcoming ones on their libraries. They are also privy to sneak peeks and extra background scenes. The service is based on premium monthly or yearly subscriptions in a variety of packages.


Artificial Intelligence is the next big thing. Disney has also ventured into that field. MyMagic+ is a multibillion-dollar investment by Disney that incorporates a website, mobile app, and bracelet that enables visitors to collectively customize their experiences in a Disney park. To facilitate the process of service customization, Disney installs doors equipped with radio frequency readers and scanners in parks, hotels, restaurants, and attractions.

 It sets out to initiate radiofrequency devices to personalize and customize visitor experience. It sends signals to Disney parks, hotels, or roads.

Success Story and Achievements Because of Digitalization


Disney’s most high-profile digital product is its streaming service, Disney+. Since its launch in late 2019, Disney’s streaming service, Disney+ has amassed over 118 million subscribers and is expected to grow to 260 million subscribers by 2024.

Disney has now reclaimed its own content to start Disney+. Recently, Disney+’s sales eclipsed $20 million in its first month of release. Disney+ is already competitive with Netflix’s which has 24 million subscribers for the app. 

The revenue for the first month of release for Disney+ eclipsed $20 million. Already, 24 million subscribers have signed up for the app. The power of Disney+ has been immediate and remains unmatched. This proves that traditional brands still hold a lot of power behind their brand image.

 Customers love Disney because of its legacy and its animated films, theme parks, Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, and nostalgia.

Disney has yet to personalize the viewership experience now that they have ownership of the digital content and landscape. They have access to powerful data. They can use the data to tell a story and make personalized recommendations for each viewer. This would be an excellent way to heighten Disney’s power on the platform.

Disney+ now accounts for more than a quarter of its 73.7 million customers globally.


Hotstar originally launched in 2015 as an ad-supported service and later added a subscription component. It features movies, TV shows, and sports. The company described itself before the launch earlier this year as having over 300 million monthly active users.

Hotstar was able to make a name for itself as it added popular television shows to its library. Customers can avail the episodes of daily soaps anytime and anywhere without having to wait for the next week to see the episode or put up with lengthy advertisements as it usually happens on TV.

The app offers more than 50,000 hours of TV and movies across Hindi, English, and six regional languages.

When Hotstar joined hands with Disney in 2019, more content was added. With a wealth of Disney content on its platform, from Tv shows to movies both national and international productions, Hotstar has proved itself to become worthy competition against Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Another streaming service that Disney has recently acquired and made global is HULU.

Legacy and Future

Disney has vowed to revolutionize its theme parks next. They want to make the experience digital.

They will revolutionize theme park operations through the use of behavioral data and advanced analytics. They have also become pioneers of cutting-edge experiential and media technology such as VR, 4D viewing systems, over-the-top (OTT) services, and IoT.

However, this is more than just theme parks. It will encompass over a hundred assets that range from streaming services and movies studios like Marvel and Lucasfilm.

They are also investing in commercial real estate holdings, cruise lines, and many more businesses.

Disney is still planning to look forward to expanding its digital footprint. It has decided to close almost 20% of its physical stores i.e. 300 retail stores across the globe in order to shift its attention to the e-commerce world.

As per a press release an executive said, the end goal was to build, “a more seamless, personalized and franchise-focused eCommerce experience through its shop Disney platform which will be complemented by greater integration with the Disney Parks apps and social media platforms.”


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