Disney is preparing to launch an Integrated Disney+/Hulu App as a bundled service in the US
Disney is nearing the completion of its acquisition to fully own Hulu. Soon, they will test a new app that merges Disney+ and Hulu, providing a combined platform for users of both services, as announced by CEO Bob Iger.
The finalization of Disney’s purchase of Comcast’s 33% share in Hulu is pending. Disney disclosed that it will pay a minimum of $8.61 billion to Comcast for this share. The exact amount will be determined after evaluating Hulu’s market value.
Bob Iger shared on a recent earnings call that Disney is progressing towards a unified app in the U.S., which will offer extensive content to Disney+ bundle subscribers. This initiative aims to bring together general entertainment offerings in one place.
In December, Disney plans to release a beta version of this integrated Disney+/Hulu app for subscribers of the bundled service. This release will allow users, particularly parents, to set up necessary controls before the official launch in spring 2024. Iger anticipates that this integration will enhance user engagement, increase advertising revenue, and reduce both customer acquisition costs and subscription cancellations.
Earlier, Iger had mentioned that Disney was preparing a unified app experience in the U.S., combining Hulu content with Disney+. He initially stated that this service would be available by the end of 2023 for those subscribed to both streaming platforms.
Disney currently offers a bundled subscription of Disney+ and Hulu at discounted rates, with the option of ad-supported and ad-free plans. However, users must access the services through separate apps.
Merging Disney+ and Hulu may also set the stage for introducing Hulu to global markets. Presently, Hulu operates only in the U.S., with the brand licensed to Nippon TV in Japan. Despite gaining operational control over Hulu, Disney has restrained from launching it internationally to avoid inflating its value, which would increase the cost of buying out Comcast’s share.
As of now, Disney has not revealed any plans to expand Hulu globally.
For the latest quarter, Disney+ saw a significant rise in subscribers, reaching 150.2 million total users. The core Disney+ subscriber count (excluding Disney+ Hotstar) grew by 6.9 million, totaling 112.6 million. Disney’s streaming sector reported a loss of $387 million in the fourth quarter, an improvement compared to the $1.4 billion loss in the same quarter the previous year. Iger is optimistic about Disney’s streaming services achieving profitability by the fourth quarter of fiscal 2024.
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