Last month, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that by the end of the year, they would be offering a one-app experience in the United States, that incorporates their Hulu content via Disney+, which is expected to boost engagement and increase Disney’s opportunity to grow its advertising business.   This was a big shift from his comments earlier in the year about possibly selling Hulu.

“I have now had another three months to really study this carefully and figure out what is the best path for us to grow this business and it is clear that a combination of the content that is on Disney+ with general entertainment is a very positive, is a very strong combination from a subscriber perspective, from a subscriber acquisition subscriber retention perspective and also from an advertiser’s perspective,”

Hulu will still be available as an individual app, since Comcast is still a third owner in the streaming platform until 2024, when a contract made in 2019, means that either Disney or Comcast can force the remaining third to be sold for a value set by an independent third party.

Disney+ exploded out of the starting gates in 2019, and quickly grew into a streaming juggernaut, with its offering of Disney, Pixar, National Geographic, Marvel and Star Wars. However, as time has gone on, Disney+ has struggled to keep adult audiences engaged, outside of the tentpole Marvel and Star Wars releases. Internationally, Disney fixed this problem, as back in early 2021, a sixth hub called Star was added to Disney+, bringing its content from studios like FX, Searchlight Pictures, ABC and 20th Television into the app.

The addition of Star Internationally has been a huge success, since it offered Disney+ viewers a larger selection of content, which has reduced the churn of subscribers leaving the platform and increased engagement, since there is simply more to watch.

However, the problem in the US, was that the existence of Hulu, meant Disney couldn’t recreate this success, until the situation with Comcast was sorted, since any major shift in content could be seen as undermining Hulu, leading to legal issues for Disney. And with that deadline of 2024, which is now almost upon us, Disney has laid out its plans, to incorporate Hulu into Disney+ through the streaming bundle, much like we’ve seen some competitors like HBO Max/Discovery+ and Paramount+/Showtime do.

It’s extremely likely, once Hulu is completely owned by Disney, that it will just be folded into Disney+.  In the meantime, we will get a hybrid experience in the US, with selected Hulu content, being available within Disney+ for Hulu subscribers.    Already this year, Disney has begun blurring the lines between Hulu and Disney+, with many titles like “Flamin’ Hot” and “A Small Light”, being released on both platforms at the same time.  Plus, many of National Geographic’s new shows are being shared between the two platforms, and Hulu has been getting access to some Disney+ Originals. Plus, Disney has been very active in promoting the Disney Streaming Bundle, showcasing everything they have to offer.

And recently, Parrott Analytics has released some data, looking at the audiences of Hulu and Disney+, showing that currently, Hulu subscribers mainly use the platform to catch up on the latest ABC and FOX shows, rather than originals like “Only Murders In The Building”.   It also shows that non-original non-exclusive content, aka content from other studios, is the most watched content on Hulu, but this is likely going to be changing, as recently, Disney also stated that they had done a review and may terminate certain license agreements for the right to use the content on its platforms, which would result in the removal of licensed content from its platforms and lead to impairment and/or contract termination charges as well as cash payments.

Simply put, among all of Disney’s studios, it has a vast amount of shows and films in its library, with a continuous production line of new content coming out.  It doesn’t need to keep spending money on licensing content from other platforms, and will be looking to cut costs.

The combination of Disney and Hulu, will offer a much wider selection of content, with younger audiences being drawn into the Disney library and Disney Channel content, while the Hulu content pulls in adult audiences. Offering a platform that will appeal to everyone and reduce churn, as households will be much less likely to get rid of a platform, if its being used.

Disney CEO Bob Iger has said they are going to be reducing the amount of general entertainment they create, instead focusing on quality over quantity.  Hulu has been releasing some fantastic original series, like “The Dropout”, “Dopesick”, and “The Bear”, but they’ve not been able to get the same level of attention as more popular shows like “The Mandalorian”. And it’s going to be much easier to get Star Wars and Marvel fans to check out some other popular shows like “Bob’s Burgers”, or “Family Guy”, within Disney+.

The new one-app approach offering Hulu content within Disney+, will lead to more viewers checking out shows from across Disney’s studios. Discoverability is a key within an app, and having more different content available to everyone in a household is going to be a key to a streaming service’s success, especially with all of the competition coming from Amazon, Max, Peacock, Paramount and Netflix.

Are you looking forward to watching Hulu content on Disney+? Let us know on social media!

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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: Twitter: Facebook:

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