Earlier this year, Disney CEO Bob Iger said they would be launching a new one-app experience in the United States later this year that would allow Hulu content to be available within Disney+. But there hasn’t been much information on this revealed, since Disney is currently in the process of buying out the remaining stake of Hulu from Comcast on December 1st 2023.
Disney has announced that it expects to pay NBCU approximately $8.61 billion, representing NBCU’s percentage of the $27.5 billion guaranteed floor value for Hulu that was set when the companies entered into their agreement in 2019 minus the anticipated outstanding capital call contributions payable by NBCU to Disney. Under the appraisal process agreed to by Disney and Comcast, Hulu’s equity fair value will be assessed as of September 30, 2023, and if the value is ultimately determined to be greater than the guaranteed floor value, Disney will pay NBCU its percentage of the difference between the equity fair value and the guaranteed floor value. While the timing of the appraisal process is uncertain, we anticipate it should be completed during the 2024 calendar year.
Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, spoke on CNBC just ahead of its quarterly investor call and confirmed that Hulu content will be available within Disney+ in December when Disney releases a beta version, and they plan to have it leave Beta in March.
“In December, we will launch in beta form a combined Disney plus and Hulu app. We feel great about how the combination gives us an ability to essentially lower customer acquisition costs, reduce marketing, hopefully reduce churn and, most importantly, create more engagement.”
This follows recent news that Disney’s plans to integrate Hulu content into Disney+ have been hit with some delays, so instead, they will launch it with fewer features as a Beta, giving them a few more months to iron out the issues. The Disney streaming team have been working on how to incorporate Disney+ and Hulu together for a while. With Bob saying:
And speaking of Hulu, we were pleased to announce last week that we will acquire the remaining stake in Hulu held by Comcast, which will further Disney streaming objectives.
We remain on track to roll out a more unified one-app experience domestically, making extensive general entertainment content available to bundle subscribers via Disney+. That includes critical and audience favorites like Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building, The Bear, Abbott Elementary as well as titles from our extensive content library built over a decade, including adult animation standouts like Family Guy and long-running hit series like 911, which is moving to ABC for season 7. We expect that Hulu on Disney+ will result in increased engagement, greater advertising opportunities, lower churn, and reduced customer acquisition costs thereby increasing our overall margins. We will launch a beta version for bundled subscribers in December, giving parents time to set up profiles and parental controls that work best for their families ahead of the official launch in early spring 2024.
Bob Iger confirmed that the Hulu content would become available within Disney+ in the US, including shows on “Family Guy”, “Abbott Elementary”, “Only Murders In The Building”, “9-1-1”, and “The Bear”. The Beta rollout will also “parents time to set up profiles and parental controls that work best for their families ahead of the official launch in early spring 2024.”
It seems Disney might limit how much content from Hulu, either licensed content or perhaps more mature content, for a few months, to get people ready for the full launch in March.
We feel really good about that. I saw some — basically some demos of that just yesterday, as a matter of fact. We are basically putting it in beta so that we can prepare parents largely to basically implement parental controls because you’ll be able to access Hulu programming on the same app. And then in late March, we’ll launch it basically in full form.
And I think we have opportunities in terms of upsell capabilities in terms of increasing engagement. We found that where we bundled, we lower churn. And again, these are steps that are all taken to ultimately turn this into a great business. Lastly, in terms of cost reductions, we created basically a one-world approach to streaming.
Internationally, Hulu content is already available on Disney+ and will bring the US offering more in line with that. This boost of Hulu content within Disney+ is expected to increase engagement, greater ad revenue and lower churn.
“We are bullish about the future of our streaming business. Imagine the opportunities a combined Disney+, Hulu and ESPN streaming experience can offer us as a company and consumers.”
Are you looking forward to seeing more general entertainment content within Disney+? Let us know on social media!
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.