By the end of 2023, Hulu’s streaming content will be rolled into the Disney+ app and will allow viewers to find and stream both services’ content without switching between apps. Users will still need separate subscriptions for both streaming services to view the combined content. Furthermore, users will still have the option to subscribe to both services separately.
The news comes after Disney+ lost 4 million subscribers in the second quarter of 2023, while Hulu gained 200,000 subscribers.
At the end of 2021, Disney+ and ESPN+ were combined with Hulu which created the Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN+ bundle. At that time I was subscribed to both Hulu Plus Live TV and Disney Plus. So when the bundle was launched it actually saved me money because I was now getting Disney+ at no extra cost with ESPN+ thrown in. Although at that time Hulu did raise its Hulu Plus Live TV plan by $5. But as I just mentioned, I’m still saving money since I’m not paying extra for Disney+ or ESPN+. I said all that because I’m not sure how the upcoming Disney+ Hulu app will affect my current Hulu Plus Live TV, Disney+, and ESPN+ bundle.
Anyway, back to current events.
As mentioned at the top of this article Disney is combining Hulu and Disney Plus into a single streaming app. During Disney’s Q2 earnings call on Wednesday, CEO Bob Iger announced that the company is going to create a “one-app experience” within the US and said that it’s raising the price of its ad-free plan, which currently costs $10.99 per month.
“While we continue to offer Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus as standalone options, this is a logical progression of our DTC [direct-to-consumer] offerings that will provide greater opportunities for advertisers while giving bundle subscribers access to more robust and streamlined content, resulting in greater audience engagement and ultimately leading to a more unified streaming experience,” Iger said.
Iger also claims, “On the integrated app experience that we announced today, that’s for consumers that have subscribed to both services for now,” he said. “So in other words, it’s taking what we call the ‘dual bundle’ and putting it together in one experience, which is obviously good for consumers … It’s a bigger platform, basically more content than it offered before.”
He continued, “Meanwhile, the pricing changes we’ve already implemented a proven successful, and we plan to set a higher price for our ad-free tier later this year to better reflect the value of our content offerings.”
There is also another major factor that will determine the final outcome of the Disney+/Hulu app and that’s if Comcast is willing to sell its stake in Hulu by 2024. Currently, Comcast owns 33% and Disney owns 66%.
Iger noted that preliminary discussions have begun with Comcast but a decision of whether Comcast will sell the stake to Disney or not is still up in the air.
“How that ultimately unfolds is, to some extent, in the hands of Comcast and in the hands of basically a conversation or a negotiation that we have with them,” Iger said.
As noted earlier in this article the new streaming app will launch at the end of 2023, so stay tuned for updates.