Hulu content will be integrated into Disney+ as part of a “one-app experience” by the end of the calendar year, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced on Wednesday’s earnings call. So while that could mean a Hulu tile on Disney+ in the very near future, Hulu and ESPN+ will both remain standalone apps, Iger added.
The integration will only happen domestically, Iger clarified. He did not provide any details on what content or how much will make its way to Disney+. However, said that the company is “in the process of reviewing the content on our DTC (direct-to-consumer) services to align with the strategic changes in our approach to content curation,” meaning they’ll be removing certain content from the platforms.
“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,” Iger said. “We will begin to roll out this one app offering by the end of the calendar year and we look forward to sharing more details in the future.”
The announcement about the future of Hulu and its place with Disney+ comes as Disney’s flagship streamer lost 4 million subscribers for the company’s fiscal Q2. It’s the latest sign of corporate synergy after Showtime is now being rolled into Paramount+ over at Paramount.
Disney has to make a decision about Hulu very soon, with one of those options being that it will have to agree to buy out its remaining stake in the streamer from Comcast for at least $9 billion. While Iger has been open to the idea of selling Hulu, this move hints that a buyout could be in its future.
“It’s a solid platform, and it’s also a very attractive platform for advertisers,” he said back in March at a Morgan Stanley conference. “It’s already proven to be valuable for them, and advertising has proven to be valuable for us. But the environment is very, very tricky right now, and before we make any big decisions about our level of investment and our commitment to that business, we want to understand where it could go.”
Hulu currently has 48.2 million subscribers compared to Disney+’s 157.8 million, but Hulu, with the exception of Netflix, is the only major streamer that is actually profitable. Iger did however say on Wednesday that he’s optimistic about the long term prospects of Disney’s streaming reaching profitability. Sure enough, Disney again cut its DTC losses this for the quarter.