Disney draws a bridge for Hulu merger

Disney CEO Bob Chapek is outlining how Disney+ and Hulu may be rolled into one service in 2024 when Disney can buy the one-third stake it doesn’t already own.

Disney draws a bridge for Hulu merger

 

The Future. Disney CEO Bob Chapek is outlining how Disney+ and Hulu may be rolled into one service in 2024 when Disney can buy the one-third stake it doesn’t already own. The move would supercharge the company’s streaming growth and streamline its offerings… which may be the biggest new trend in streaming next year (Paramount+ x Showtime, HBO Max x Discovery+). With audiences picky about what services they’ll subscribe to in a given month, best to give them everything in one singular package.

Land grab
Deadline reports that Chapek is readying a play to merge Disney+ and Hulu.

  • Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia & Tech Conference, Chapek said that Disney is more than likely to buy out Comcast’s 33% financial ownership stake in Hulu and then merge it with Disney+.
    • Disney already operates Hulu independently.
  • That would bring together Disney+’s 152.1 million subscribers and Hulu’s $46.2 million (although, there’s certainly some overlap).
  • And yes, it would probably lead to another price hike.

Disney has to wait until 2024 to make the move, but would love to buy out the ownership stake sooner if Comcast came to the table with a “reasonable” deal (read: discounted). But Comcast CEO Brian Roberts doesn’t seem to be budging from the purported minimum $27.5 billion price tag… despite Chapek’s insistence that the streaming market has cooled.

Take all of that as negotiating in plain sight.

Actually, for the whole family
If/when the merger happens, it would transform Disney+ into a more general entertainment platform, as opposed to the more kid-and-tentpole-franchise-friendly service it currently is. Users will be able to watch The Little Mermaid and American Horror Story all on one platform, considering that Disney owns FX, 20th Century, and ABC Studios.

In reality, that shouldn’t be controversial in the slightest. Every other platform already does this… and Disney already does this internationally, where Hulu content regularly exists in the Disney+ Hotstar service. That’s never been a problem with audiences.

But preconceived notions of the Disney brand in the US may require some finesse to change. But Chapek said both “consumer feedback and company data” points to subscribers being open to the idea.