Hulu is coming to Disney+.
By the end of 2023, Disney will roll out a single app experience that incorporates Hulu content on Disney+, available to customers who subscribe to both streaming services.
Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ will still be available as standalone options, but during Disney’s second-quarter earnings call on Wednesday, CEO Bob Iger said that he views the new strategy as a “logical progression” of the company’s direct-to-consumer offerings.
“[It] 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,” said Iger, also adding he expects the singular experience to lower churn.
With the news coming just ahead of Disney’s upfront next week, Iger described the advertising platform of the combined experience as “incredibly exciting,” as over 40% of Disney’s domestic advertising portfolio is addressable.
Iger said Disney has added over 1,000 advertisers over the past year, bringing the total to 5,000 advertisers across its streaming platform, with over one-third buying programmatically.
“As we look to this upfront, and after careful and considerable discussion with our sales team led by Rita Ferro, there’s going to be a substantial growth in digital advertising,” said Iger.
The company is also hopeful that the combination of Disney+ and Hulu will increase its digital opportunity to serve digital ads and grow its advertising business.
The last time a major media company combined content from two streaming services, the industry got Paramount+ and Showtime—which are now merging into a single service. While Disney has the option to buy Comcast’s 33% Hulu stake starting in January 2024, it had not been clear what the company planned to do.
“It’s not really been fully determined what will happen in that regard, except that as we’ve looked more and more in the future of our streaming business… it’s clear that a combination of the content that is on Disney+ with general entertainment is a very strong combination,” said Iger.
Price hikes incoming
In December, Disney raised prices for Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+, and expect to see a higher price for Disney+’s ad-free tier once again later this year. Disney+ (with ads) currently costs $7.99 per month, and the ad-free tier comes in at $10.99 per month or $109.99 annually.