Disney made the significant announcement on Wednesday that U.S. customers will receive a new app that combines content from Disney+ and Hulu.
Additionally, the company announced that the Disney+ ad-free tier will be priced higher in the coming year.
The new streaming option will be available later this year, CEO Bob Iger revealed during Disney's quarterly earnings call. The company also intends to maintain Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ as standalone platforms.
The news comes after Disney+ lost 4 million subscribers in the second quarter of 2023. 200,000 more subscribers were added to Hulu.
“While we continue to offer Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ as standalone options, this is a logical progression of our [direct-to-consumer] offerings that will provide greater opportunities for advertisers while giving subscribers access to more robust and streamlined content, resulting in greater audience engagement and ultimately leading to a more unified streaming experience,” Iger stated during the earnings call.
Since former Disney CEO Bob Chapek hinted at the plans in September 2022, many of us anticipated this announcement.
“Right now, if you want to go from Hulu to ESPN+ to Disney+, you have to go out of one app to another app. In the future, we may have less friction,” Chapek told in an interview last year.
Additionally, this appears to back up reports that Disney intends to acquire Comcast's stake in Hulu by 2024. Comcast currently owns 33%, while Disney owns 66%.
Following Paramount+'s acquisition of Showtime and Warner Bros. Discovery's announcement of its new streaming service, Max, which combines HBO Max and Discovery+ into a single platform, the integration follows other actions taken by competitors.
Hulu content is already included with Disney+ for subscribers in some countries other than the United States.
At the point when the streamer launched its ad-supported plan in December, the cost of its premium tier to $10.99/month, contrasted with $7.99. Disney+ will get one more cost climb for its ad-free subscription. Subscribers will soon be required to pay even more for ad-free content.
“The pricing changes we’ve already implemented [have] proven successful, and we plan to set a higher price for our ad-free tier later this year to better reflect the value of our content offerings,” Iger added. “As we look to the future, we will continue optimizing our pricing model to reward loyalty and reduce churn to increase subscriber revenue for the premium ad-free tier and drive the growth of subscribers…”