Ever since Disney purchased 20th Century Fox, there has been a huge question mark over the future of Hulu, which Disney own 66% of, and it is the home of shows and films from Disney’s many studios, including FX, ABC and 20th Century Studios.
However, with the successful launch of Disney+, many have questioned does Disney need two streaming services in the US. Internationally, Disney has put all of this content within Disney+, so it has no intentions of launching Hulu around the world. And with people cutting how many streaming services they subscribe to, this has led many analysts to predict that Disney is possibly going to be selling Hulu or potentially folding it into Disney+.
During an interview with CNBC, Bob Iger spoke about some of the major news from the latest quarterly investors results, where he said that everything is on the table now with regard to selling Hulu, as Disney is trying to reduce its debt. While Bob Iger wouldn’t get into the specifics, especially with an interview with someone working for the other side of Hulu, there were some major hints that Bob Iger isn’t as focused on Hulu, as he barely mentioned it during the company’s investor call on Wednesday.
There has been lots of speculation over the future of Hulu, as Disney currently owns 66% of the streaming service and in 2024, has a deal with Comcast to purchase the remaining 33%. When he was asked about the future of Hulu, Bob Iger said:
Hulu “is a very successful platform, and I think a good consumer proposition. But everything’s on the table right now.”
Comcast’s CEO has recently said he sees nothing but Disney giving them a “big fat cheque” for Hulu, but during the interview, when asked about the assumption is that Disney will buy out Comcast’s stake next year.
“I’m suggesting that isn’t necessarily the case. I’m not gonna speculate about whether we’re a buyer or seller of it. I obviously have suggested that I’m concerned about undifferentiated general entertainment, particularly given the competitive landscape that we’re operating in, and we’re going to look at it very objectively.”
During the investors call, Bob Iger spoke about the difficulties of general entertainment and reiterated in the CNBC interview that Disney is going to be trying to make over $3 billion in cost savings, with the majority of this saving coming from the general entertainment content, rather than its franchised content. Disney owns a number of studios creating general entertainment content, such as FX, ABC, 20th Television and more. Bob explained:
“there are seven or eight platforms in the streaming business alone that are in general entertainment. That’s a tough business to be in competitively, and it’s it’s not our strongest suit.”
Bob Iger’s words about general entertainment not being their strongest suit, which is slightly odd since Disney’s studios are behind major shows like “Only Murders In The Building”, “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Abbott Elementary”, “Pam & Tommy”, “The Dropout” and more. So the idea that general entertainment isn’t their strongest suit, does seem a little strange, but it does seem to indicate that going forward, without Hulu, they won’t be putting as much focus on this division.
Selling Hulu would drastically reduce Disney’s debut, but it also poses other questions about its original content like “Dopesick”, “The Dropout”, and “Prey”. Does that move to Disney+? Are some of the studios, like ABC Signature or FX, included in the purchase? What does this mean for the general entertainment side internationally under the Star banner? On the one hand, selling Hulu could free Disney up to utilise its films and shows better on Disney+, but it does sound like Bob Iger isn’t as keen on creating as much general entertainment content as they are currently doing. When you look at the huge slate of content being released by all of Disney’s studios, there is a lot, so streamlining could drastically reduce costs.
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Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom.