Speed Reads

one app is better than two?

Disney+ will get Hulu content to create a 'one-app experience'

Disney+ and Hulu will soon be joining forces. 

Disney CEO Bob Iger announced during a Wednesday earnings call that the company will add content from Hulu to Disney+, creating a "one-app experience" for consumers. He described the move as a "logical progression" of Disney's direct-to-consumer offerings that will lead to a "more unified streaming experience" and increase engagement. Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ will still be offered as standalone services, however. 

Disney owns a majority stake in Hulu following its acquisition of 21st Century Fox in 2019, although Comcast also holds a 33 percent stake. In 2019, the companies reached a deal that could see Disney or Comcast force a sale of Comcast's Hulu stake beginning in January 2024. But Iger said on the earnings call that it has "not really been fully determined what will happen" at that time, and he told CNBC in February that "everything" is still "on the table" when it comes to Comcast's stake. Iger noted during the earnings call that "where we are headed is for one experience that would have general entertainment and Disney+ content together," though how this unfolds is "to some extent in the hands of Comcast" and will depend on how negotiations play out. Disney and Comcast have had "cordial" conversations, he added, "but I can't really say where they end up." 

But adding Hulu content could help Disney in its effort to expand the type of programming offered on Disney+ to appeal to potential subscribers who aren't necessarily drawn in by its tentpole franchises like Star Wars and Marvel, which was also part of the reason Dancing with the Stars moved to Disney+ in 2022. Although Hulu has generally housed more adult-skewing programming than Disney+, the latter service has lately been more willing to stream content that isn't family friendly. After all, Disney+ added its first R-rated movies in 2022.

According to Iger, Disney's one-app offering will begin rolling out domestically by the end of 2023.