Disney brings Hotstar to South Asian migrant workers in Singapore

The Walt Disney Company has partnered with the Singapore government to bring its Hotstar streaming service to migrant workers during this period. Through its subsidiary Novi Digital Entertainment, it aims to offer South Asian migrant workers residing in Singapore moments of respite during this uncertain and difficult time.

From now until 21 July, migrant workers can livestream more than 85,000 hours of content via the Hotstar app on their mobile phones. Available in nine languages, the content offering includes more than 2,000 movies and 900 TV shows. The service is currently available only on Android phones in Singapore, but will be available soon on iPhones as well. Additionally, Disney is working closely with the Singapore government and migrant workers outreach groups to inform workers about this initiative at a grassroots level. The service will also be open for subscriptions to other Singapore residents soon. Hotstar offers a range of content including sports matches, movies, TV shows, and news. According to a press release, it recently surpassed 400 million downloads in India, making it the largest video streaming service in the country. 

Uday Shankar, president, The Walt Disney Company APAC and chairman, Star & Disney India, said it hopes with this partnership, it is able to offer South Asian migrant workers content that speak their language and lift their spirits by bringing comfort to them.

Howie Lau, assistant chief executive (media and innovation), Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) of Singapore, said it understands many migrant workers are struggling with living in isolation away from their homes and families during this time. "We appreciate industry partners like Disney which have stepped forward to offer more content choices for the workers to bring them some cheer during this period," Lau added.

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In a similar effort to cater to the welfare of migrant workers residing in Singapore, creative agency BLKJ launched an initiative to share messages of love with Singapore’s migrant workers in their own native languages. Called “Love Translated”, the movement calls for Singaporeans to WhatsApp their messages of encouragement for migrant workers. The messages will then translated into Bengali, Tamil, Hindi, Burmese and Mandarin, and forwarded daily to the workers via their WhatsApp groups and through targeted promoted posts on Facebook.  The messages will also be uploaded onto Love Translated’s official site. “Love, Translated” is also supported by Mediacorp, SPH, IMDA, StarHub and Getty Images, among others. 

Separately, independent ad agency WILD raised some funds to show their support to the migrant workers through a donation to non-profit organisation Transient Workers Count Too. Joan Lim, creative director at Wild said other than creating content, the agency wants to be able to contribute in a tangible way to provide support to those who need it. IKEA Singapore has also donated 800 mugs to migrant workers, along with cartons of snacks from its food outlet. This comes after migrant workers were found drinking milk straight from the carton due to the lack of mugs. 

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