Since the launch of Disney+, over the past few years, there has been lots of speculation about the future of Hulu.
Once Disney decided to cancel any plans to launch Hulu internationally and instead added the general entertainment brand, Star, into Disney+ around the world, to release more mature content on to the streaming service. There have been calls by fans, shareholders and analysts to merge Hulu and Disney+ together, to provide a streaming service with the entire Walt Disney Companies studio power behind it.
This week, the Television Critics Association is hosting its Winter Press Tour. Craig Erwich, President, Hulu Originals & ABC Entertainment, was asked about Hulu and Disney+ merging during one of the presentations.
Erwich “can’t speculate” on whether Hulu will become a hub on Disney+. He instead prefers to focus on the content they’re creating on the platform right now
With Meghan O’Keefe also confirming:
When asked if Hulu will be around in 5 years as a standalone service or will it be grandfathered in as a hub on Disney+, Erwich says he can’t speculate on that. He’s focused on programming from now to 2024, says the team is excited about the pipeline of content coming up.
An announcement regarding Disney+ merging with Hulu would be massive, but until Disney and Comcast can reach an agreement on Comcast’s 33% stake in Hulu being sold to Disney. It’s unlikely. It’s certainly interesting to hear him mention that he’s focused on programming until 2024, as that’s when Disney and Comcast can force one another to complete the deal.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek has previously said the streaming bundle isn’t ideal, and the Walt Disney Companies share prices have dropped since it was revealed that domestic Disney+ subscriber numbers have gone soft. With many pointing the finger at one of the key problems with Disney+, not having enough general entertainment content for teenagers and adults.
Former Disney Chairman, Bob Iger, even acknowledged the situation in an interview prior to his departure from the company, saying that they recognise that Disney+ needs more content for everyone and that Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek is going to deal with the situation.
During the same session at the TCA Winter Press Tour, Craig Erwich was also asked if Hulu is amping up its content output like Disney+ has been. His response stated that they’re concentrating on quality, and are “focused on the slate ahead of us,” with a “steady cadence of original programming.”
Merging Hulu with Disney+ isn’t going to be as simple as adding the Star brand was internationally. Since Hulu has much more licensed content, an advertising tier, plus the option for add-ons and live TV. But the pressure continues to build on Disney.
Do you think Disney+ will merge with Hulu?