Editor’s Note: We sent a letter to Disney CEO Bob Chapek and Disney Streaming President Michael Paull seeking official comment. If we receive a response, we’ll add it in. We’ve also covered this dilemma. Please welcome back guest writer Ethan Holloway for his take on Disney+ USA’s May misstep.
It’s now May 2022, and many United States citizens are celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, but for some reason, Disney+ has failed to emulate what they did for Black History Month where they added roughly half a dozen pieces of exciting content including titles which weres already streaming on sister service Hulu. For some strange reason, Disney+ couldn’t even add the ABC series Fresh Off The Boat, but today, I want to discuss another idea on how Disney could offer more Asian content for a proper celebration.
Back in November 2021, Disney shuttered the USA operations of the Hotstar streaming service, dividing content and live sports between Hulu and ESPN+. So let me explain why Disney+ could utilize some of Hotstar’s library for this month’s celebrations.
Hotstar USA Is Gone And Only Exists As A Hub On Hulu
This is as good a place to start as any, but with the shuttering of the Hotstar USA streaming service late last year all the content was absorbed by Hulu. Whilst select content may be deemed “too risky” or “too mature” for Disney+, you have to remember Disney+ now allows TV-MA and R rated content in almost all countries (sorry Latin America) including the USA. What we have to all remember is Disney+ is the Disney streamer which everyone has their eyes on, so offering the Hotstar library as a hub on Hulu arguably means fewer people will be interested in watching those movies and series.
Some Hotstar Content Streams On Disney+ Internationally
Let me first preface by mentioning that Hotstar still operates independently in the UK, Canada and Singapore, however in countries like Australia and New Zealand they do stream or have plans to stream select titles from the Hotstar catalogue. Some titles include Ok Computer and November Story which are Hotstar Specials in countries where Hotstar operates. If Disney+ USA was to stream these titles or others from Hotstar it would help unify the Hotstar brand within Disney, especially since they recently rebranded their Indian division from Star India to Disney Star.
Most Content Is Already Digitized / Dubbed
This is a point that is quite useful, unlike going through the catalogue of classic Disney movies which would take time to restore the footage and sort out all licencing deals, the Hotstar library is already digitized. With hundreds of series and movies on Hotstar from their newly branded Disney Star subsidiary (including the assets of UTV and Star India) all existing on Hulu or Hotstar as well as the content being mostly dubbed in English as its one of the primary languages in India. There are still a few productions that would need to be dubbed but adding the ones which are already dubbed or which were already filmed in English there is no reason to not add them.
Some Content Disney+ US Could Add
- Dil Bechara (based on The Fault In Our Stars)
- Hungama 2
- Shiddat: Journey Beyond Love
- Bro Daddy
These are just a few examples of titles Disney+ USA could utilize.
It’s disappointing that an entertainment titan as large as Disney would ignore Asian Heritage Month in such a way when they added new content for Black History Month roughly eight weeks ago. With Disney owning so many titles made in Asian markets such as India and Indonesia it’s pretty sad that Disney wouldn’t add any content made in those markets, despite owning hundreds if not thousands of titles through Disney Star.
If Disney couldn’t even add the ABC series Fresh Off The Boat (which they’re adding to Canada this week) the least they could do is add a dozen or so comedy, romance, drama and coming of age movies or series from Hotstar onto Disney+ USA. Disney should do better and can do better, as fans we should plead with Disney to promote content from all races and make this content available on their main streaming service. Remember, this content offers a look at a different cultural heritage than most content made in the USA.
If Disney cared about Asian American / Pacific Islander Heritage Month, they would offer at least half a dozen titles from the Hotstar content library, even if they’re shared with Hulu. It’s disappointing that Disney, a titan of the entertainment industry doesn’t offer many Asian lead titles on their core streaming service. Films like Spin and Mulan are great, but not enough when there are hundreds of other Asian lead films in your catalogue that you could have added for this holiday.
The campaign “Stop Asian Hate” was started during the pandemic when racism towards Asian people was at an all-time high, surely Disney would want people to embrace Asian people in their communities as their equals, right? The best way Disney could do this is to broadcast more of their Asian lead content on Disney+ to educate people about different cultures, but also show people that Asian people are people too.
P.S. Disney, please add the Asian Heritage Month Collection to the UK even if it’s under a different name.
NOTE: No Race Is Superior To Another We Are All Equal There Is One World and We Should Embrace Each Other As One Race, The Human Race.
An Autistic Disney, Marvel and Star Wars fan from England. Ethan is an advocate for equal representation in media for people of colour, LGBTQ+, women and people with disabilities. One day he'll be a published author mark his words, but for now, he covers Disney stuff.