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.


Alex Zalben from Decider revealed on social media:

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?

 

 











Roger Palmer

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. Email: Roger@WhatsOnDisneyPlus.com Twitter: Twitter.com/RogPalmerUK Facebook: Facebook.com/rogpalmeruk

Related Article

Write a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

15 Comments

  1. Francon_Espinola January 12, 2022

    merging hulu with disney + it would not be easy if you put hulu in disney + but yes, if you put disney + in hulu

    1. nerdrage January 13, 2022

      Why isn't it easy? Add a new tile that says Hulu (or Star, if they want to be consistent with global branding) and put the Hulu/Fox/FX content there. Anything that doesn't belong under Star Wars, Marvel, Disney, Pixar or NatGeo. And their churn problem stops. They need to do something fast. HBO Max is getting new and more competent owners with Discovery and competition is going to get real.

  2. Alex January 12, 2022

    Hulu has very healthy ARPUs and a Live component. It's an advertising beast. IMO there'll be a standalone option regardless and they may look to expand that model in other countries. What I think is possible is for them to add a "HULU" tile on Disney+ where you gain access to Disney owned movies and shows. Still wouldn't be able to access licensed content through the hub. Of course would need a Mature parental setting on Disney+ so you can get full access to the Hulu catalog. I can also see some of the content going under other tiles (i.e. Logan and Deadpool under Marvel).

    1. Melchior January 12, 2022

      The introduction of various subscription models and, above all, advertising on Disney+ would lead to a massive decline in subscriptions in Europe. European consumers are not as easily fooled as US-Americans. Sky, with what feels like hundreds of different subscription models, can only survive in my country because of the sports rights. And RTL+ and Joyn (local streaming services) with live TV and some advertising before the productions are not very popular either. And if all Disney TV channels outside the US are gradually closed, which TV channels should Disney+ stream in Europe? In some European countries, the free TV landscape is very large and has a large audience. In my country, pay TV doesn't play that big a role. Large European TV companies (which own almost all TV channels) offer their TV channels (both free and pay TV) exclusively on their own streaming service as a live stream. Plus the Multimedia library. And why should I get a Disney+ subscription to stream the public television channels when I already have to pay a mandatory monthly fee to the state mafia?

      1. Alex January 12, 2022

        I never said different subscription models and advertising on Disney+. That would be a mistake. To make it simpler I'm saying I wouldn't be surprised to see Hulu's AVOD + Live TV model expanded in other countries. To make it even simpler I wouldn't be surprised to see Hulu expanded in other countries once the settlement with Comcast is reached.

        1. Melchior January 12, 2022

          I don't see that. As I said, live TV and multimedia libraries in Europe are a very difficult and sometimes very complex subject. In addition, there are various guidelines that must be complied with, as well as existing license agreements and state media agreements. Disney would also hardly get the sports rights, which are highly competitive in Europe and cost billions. I also think that an international launch of Hulu is very unlikely and a mistake. In Europe and parts of Asia there is a simplified Hulu with Star within Disney+ and even Disney+ Hotstar in the other part of Asia. More likely, however, that Star will be renamed Hulu. Few in Europe would pay for two separate streaming services from Disney. Also for combination offers. The current situation like Disney+ and Star+ in Latin America wouldn't work in Europe. Also, some in Europe already feel the price of Disney+ is too high. Experimenting with AVOD can also backfire.

          1. Alex January 13, 2022

            1st off you are just thinking of Europe. World is a lot bigger than Europe. 2nd off Hulu can launch in other countries with the strategy already in place there. I'm talking about the model, but not necessarily the name. The model being AVOD + Live TV. Premium SVOD would, of course, remain with Disney+.

        2. Melchior January 13, 2022

          I am speaking of Europe as it is a perfect example of complex regulatory policy and a television market that is in contrast to the US. There are also very strict regulations in some Asian countries. The installation of live TV and AVOD is not as easy as you can imagine, especially in countries like Germany or France (also in Asian countries). There are many legal regulations as well as licensing issues. I don't know how this is regulated in your country, but when I think of the term live TV, I think of terms like the state media treaty, educational mandate, protection of minors, sublicensing, tax levies and the state media authorities. One important factor should not be forgotten. With live TV, Disney is making itself more liable to the state and citizens, at least in parts of Europe (probably also in Asia). And that shouldn't be underestimated.

          1. Alex January 13, 2022

            There are many challenges and regulations to everything. Doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. Disney already has a lot of things set up in different countries that would be easy to pivot and bring a Live TV + AVOD component. Latin America, Brazil, India being the main ones. It wouldn't be that hard to have an SVOD + AVOD strategy to maximize profits. You may disagree, but I think it's logical once Disney+ is more mature AND the dispute with Comcast is settled.

      2. nerdrage January 13, 2022

        This issue really relates just to America. There's already work underway to create a "Hulu" under the Disney+ banner, branded as Star. Now if only Disney would do the same thing in America, and they can call it Hulu if they like. Their growth is stalling out because Americans are cancelling Disney+ after burning thru Star Wars and Marvel. I doubt Hulu will launch standalone in Europe since the solution is already underway. Hulu's days are numbered in America too. https://deadline.com/2021/02/disney-launches-star-streaming-service-grown-up-beefs-up-parental-controls-1234698813/ AVOD is another matter but that's going to be a huge growth field globally, especially the formats that offer free content in exchange for ad watching.

        1. Alex January 13, 2022

          Star is so different than Hulu that your response shows me you do not really understand the difference between a tile within Disney+ and an AVOD service with a Live TV component.

  3. john January 12, 2022

    abc fx

  4. William A. January 13, 2022

    Alex, great job in the comment section. There is indeed a major difference in the business models and tech between D+ and Hulu. Adding a Hulu/Star tab is one thing, but there is also great value in Hulu with Live TV and tremendous ad inventory. Assume in 2024 that Disney moves much of the content to D+ and Comcast moves a majority of IP to Peacock/Sky. What is left of licensed content on Hulu that subscribers will want to pay what they have been to that point? What affect/degree will a slimmed down Hulu have on advertising? What does Disney ultimately want to do with Hulu? Add more licensed content from other studios or beef up it's sports presence with more ESPN content? This seems to me to be a very significant question beyond bringing the bulk of it's various studios of 'adult' content over to D+. Hulu won't come cheap considering what they've paid to date on top of what they give Comcast in 2024.

    1. Alex January 17, 2022

      Some very good points here and something that Disney will have to solve. My guess is that a lot of these services (I'm looking at you Peacock and Paramount+) will not survive. One easy way for Disney to solve the content issue AND settle the Hulu dispute with Comcast is to kill 2 birds with one stone. At this point Comcast knows Peacock is doomed. Comcast wants to settle the Hulu dispute now, but they want more than the 8.4B Disney says their equity is currently worth. They want 15B. Disney should offer Comcast the 15B and settle ALL companywide disputes including, but not limited to, content on Hulu. Get a deal similar to what they have with Sony (Library + Pay 2 window for new movies for 5 years). Include the Office and other sitcoms and you have good content on Hulu until at least 2027-2028, even if they stop licensing with other providers (which they won't).

  5. john January 18, 2022

    hullu on disney + february wdnesday 2