The time is almost here for Disney+ and Hulu to merge their on-demand apps into a single new app. Disney has promised this merger will happen in 2023 and now it looks like that will happen in December 2023.
What does that mean? Will Hulu still be a standalone service? Will there be a price hike? Read on for everything we know.
First, here is everything we know about Disney buying all of Hulu:
At the start of November, The Walt Disney Company said it would acquire Comcast’s 33% stake in Hulu, confirming that it would take full control of the streaming service.
The deal would move Hulu completely under Disney, allowing it to better integrate the service with Disney+ and ESPN+. Hulu is already part of various bundles with the services, but Disney is looking to potentially combine them into a single app. Comcast would walk away with billions of dollars and ammunition to bolster its own streaming service, Peacock.
The two companies had previously agreed to speed up the sales process, with November 1 being the deadline for both or either party to trigger a deal. Disney said that by December 1, it would pay Comcast’s NBC Universal $8.61 billion, which values the stake at $27.5 billion.
Everything we know about Hulu and Disney+ merging apps:
In May, Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, announced plans to merge the Hulu and Disney+ apps into a single app. Each platform will be its own service within the single app. ESPN+ has long been included in Hulu bundles, with all three options included in one of Hulu’s bundles since 2020. Iger is striving to increase revenue by seizing a unique advertising opportunity through the development of a single app hosting all three services.
This newly launched app will still reportedly launch by the end of 2023 and will allow you to watch all your content through a single app. The app will start as a beta and be fully released in March of 2024.
It appears that Hulu + Live TV will remain its own independent app and only the on-demand content will merge into Disney+.
What will happen to Hulu after the merger?
For now, ESPN+, Hulu, and Disney+ will continue to be offered as individual subscriptions.
“While we continue to offer Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ as standalone options, this is a logical progression of our DTC offerings that will provide greater opportunities for advertisers, while giving bundle subscribers access to more robust and streamlined content, resulting in greater audience engagement and ultimately leading to a more unified streaming experience,” CEO Bob Iger said when the merger was announced.
Also the Wall Street Journal reported that not only will this merger happen later this year, but in March of 2024 a new bundle deal of Hulu and Disney+ content will launch. The deal was originally meant to launch when the apps merged, but because of delays, Disney won’t launch it until March 2024. Disney is hoping that this new bundle will help drive as many as 150,000 new subscribers and generate millions in revenue.
It is unknown how this will be different from the current bundles. Though Disney has a lot of options, one option some have speculated could be a bundle with live channels from Hulu + Live TV that won’t include ESPN+.
All things can change; however, it appears that Hulu and Disney+ will be their own services even after Disney buys 100% of Hulu.
Update: We updated the story to add info about how the app will start in beta and fully launch in March of 2024.