Right on the heels of Warner Bros. Discovery announcing that HBO Max and Discovery Plus are merging into a new service called Max, Disney has revealed its own plan to bring Hulu content to Disney Plus. In an earnings call on Wednesday, Disney CEO Bob Iger said that the company will soon launch a “one-app experience” in the US, bringing a portion of the shows and movies that are available on Hulu in the US to the Disney Plus streaming service.
“While we will continue to offer Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ as standalone options,” Iger said on Wednesday. “This is a logical progression of our [direct-to-consumer] 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 also announced that the prices of both the ad-free Disney Plus subscription ($10.99/month) as well as the ad-supported tier ($7.99/month) will increase in the coming months. He didn’t say by how much. It’s worth noting that Disney raised rates on both services last year.
Disney already offers a variety of bundles containing its three streaming services (Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus). The Duo Basic bundle includes Disney Plus with ads and Hulu with ads, but the apps are still separate. Presumably, when the “one-app experience” arrives, Hulu content will be available to stream within the Disney Plus app.
Many other countries already have a version of this experience. Disney Plus features a “Star” content hub in Canada, Africa, Europe, and Asia, which hosts shows from channels like ABC, FX, and Freeform, as well as movies from 20th Century Studios, Searchlight Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, and more. It’s basically Hulu inside of Disney Plus.
In the meantime, Disney has to decide whether or not to make Comcast sell its 33% stake in Hulu. As Iger said in March (via Variety), the streaming industry “is very, very tricky right now, and before we make any big decisions about our level of investment, our commitment to that business, we want to understand where it could go.”