Disney has just announced a big move that can have some consequences in the future. The company will merge two of its popular apps, Disney+ and Hulu, into one single entity. The merger will happen later this year. As per the firm’s CEO, Bob Iger, the goal is to bring a “one app experience” to the U.S. later this year. The Hulu content will be incorporated into Disney+. Despite this, users will still be able to find the Hulu app. It will keep working, at least for the time being. Further, ESPN+ will remain operational as a separate app.
Besides the merger, there is a new price hike coming for Disney+
Of Course, not everything is good news for subscribers. Iger revealed that Disney+ will soon raise the price of its ad-free tier. It currently stands at $10.99 per month, and we don’t know exactly how much the price will increase. He did not mention the ad-supported tier that currently costs $7.99. Hopefully, it won’t get the same hike. After all, we assume that the ads will pay the bills.
The price hike certainly falls as another blow to the users. Especially those who have different streaming services to stay tuned to distinct content. The wave of price hikes has already made its way to Netflix, HBO Max, and Apple TV+. Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ also saw price hikes in the last year. Apparently, those were not sufficient to keep up with the growing financial constraints. There is rising inflation, and those firms are trying to keep up without sacrificing content. Unfortunately, having all streaming services is getting harder for people. In the near future, we assume that having subscriptions on all popular streaming platforms will be equal to old cable TV plans.
Hulu will stand, but its future seems uncertain
Going back to the merger, the plan is to push Hulu content into Disney+’s portfolio. This means that Disney+ wants to keep control of Hulu, and we won’t be surprised if its identity started to fade slowly. Iger states that the unified experience is to offer “general entertainment content” on Disney+. However, he fails to give details about the future of Hulu. Right now, Comcast holds 33% of the platform’s stake. Disney is in talks with the firm about the future of streaming, but there are no details to share right now.
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Worth noting that Disney reported a huge $659 million loss during its Q2 Fiscal Year 2023. That’s 26% lower than the $887 million lost in the same quarter last year. However, the company lost 4 million subscribers during the last quarter. Apparently, this was a direct effect of a certain crisis in India. The subsidiary Disney+ Hotstar lost the streaming rights to IPL cricket matches. With that, the service saw millions of users canceling their subscriptions.
We are curious to see what the future has in tow for Disney+ and Hulu. The former has very good shows but has been lacking in terms of quality when we look at recent releases from Marvel. Although the price hike sounds bad for those who want Hulu, Disney+, and ESPN+, there is always a bundle that gives access to all three services.
Can the price hike bring a negative effect?
The changes in India and the loss of subscribers show how fragile these streaming services can be when it comes to keeping userbase. Most of the users are attached to some content, but the price of the subscription will also determine if they will remain or not. Therefore, we believe that Disney+ has to be very careful when it comes to increasing its price. It certainly has content, but is that enough to keep users in the long term? To recall, Netflix lost millions of subscribers once it started to ditch password sharing.
We are curious to see if the price hike will have any kind of negative effect.