Disney is on a tight deadline to make its streaming service, Disney+, profitable. In July, CEO Bob Iger told already skeptical investors that they should see a return by September 2024, which is already less than a year away. The company’s $5.5 billion budget cuts and elimination of 7,000 jobs hasn’t right the ship, according to The Wall Street Journal, but Iger has made progress on some of his goals to make Disney+ profitable.
Iger’s plans include folding Hulu into Disney+, but when the tile launches later this year, some features designed to attract customers reportedly won’t be available. A Hulu/Disney+ bundle could bring in as many as 150,000 subscribers over the next year and generate millions in revenue, people familiar with the situation told The Wall Street Journal. Disney is also in talks to sell off its India assets. The future of the company’s traditional TV holdings like ABC and FX could also be in question after Iger said they “may not be core” to Disney’s future.
In August, the media giant reported an operating loss for its streaming services — Disney+, Hulu and ESPN — as well as a dip in subscribers across a few of its services.
To recoup losses, Disney is hiking prices on its services: Disney+ Premium will go up $3 to $13.99 a month. Hulu without ads will also increase by $3 to $17.99, and ESPN+ tacks on an extra $1 to $10.99 a month. In addition, Hulu with Live TV with ads will cost $76.99 a month, while the ad-free version will cost $89.99 each month — a $7 a month increase for both plans. These price changes go into effect on Thursday October 12.
The company also plans to take a page from Netflix’s playbook and crack down on password sharing next year. The move could yield a boom in signups like it did for Netflix, or Disney could lose more customers.
Disney has a lot of goals to achieve at a time when the landscape is bleak for many streamers, and its September 2024 deadline hasn’t budged. A majority of platforms have raised their prices, cut staff, and dialed back on content over the last few years.