Disney has recently acquired the remaining 33 percent stake in Hulu from Comcast, gaining complete control over the streaming platform. Disney is now preparing to launch a unified streaming app that merges Disney Plus and Hulu.
During its fourth-quarter earnings results, Disney announced plans to launch the new app in beta for bundle subscribers in December, with the official release set for early spring 2024. This integrated app aims to provide a seamless experience for subscribers of both streaming services.
Disney CEO Bob Iger emphasized the goal of creating a more cohesive one-app experience domestically, stating, “We expect that Hulu and Disney Plus will result in increased engagement, greater advertising opportunities, lower churn, and reduced customer acquisition costs.”
The merger of Disney+ and Hulu into a single app opens the door for Disney to potentially launch the Hulu brand globally. Currently, the Disney-operated Hulu service is restricted to the US. Earlier this year, Disney increased prices for its ad-free streaming services. Despite this, nearly 7 million core subscribers joined the streaming service, propelling Disney Plus to surpass 150 million global subscribers this quarter.
In Q4, Disney’s streaming business reported a loss of $387 million, marking a significant year-over-year improvement of 74% from a loss of $1.4 billion in the same quarter of 2022. Iger announced that Disney’s streaming business is on track to achieve profitability by the fourth quarter of fiscal 2024.
It’s worth noting that Disney hasn’t abandoned its planned crackdown on password-sharing. Although the timing remains unclear, the “planned rollout” is not expected to have a “meaningful impact” on the streaming business until 2025.