Disney Integrates Hulu into Disney+ Streaming Service

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Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) has taken a significant step by integrating Hulu into its Disney+ streaming service, offering a broader range of content to subscribers. The combined service, known as “Hulu on Disney+,” has entered an early “beta” version, initially available to domestic subscribers of the Disney Bundle of streaming services, with a formal launch scheduled for March.

This move enhances Disney+’s family-friendly content with a more diverse array of general entertainment, including popular shows like FX’s “The Bear” and the reality series “The Kardashians.” Disney CEO Bob Iger, addressing investors last month, emphasized the introduction of a “unified one-app experience,” providing certain Disney+ subscribers access to Hulu’s extensive programming, featuring shows like “Only Murders in the Building,” ABC’s “Abbott Elementary,” and adult animation favorites like “Family Guy.”

Iger anticipates that the integration of Hulu into Disney+ will lead to increased engagement, expanded advertising opportunities, reduced customer churn, and lower customer acquisition costs, ultimately enhancing overall profit margins. The move aligns with Disney’s strategy to make its streaming business profitable, as evidenced by a notable improvement in operating losses in the quarter ending September 30, reducing losses to $420 million compared to over $1.4 billion the previous year.

To facilitate this integration, Disney initiated the process of acquiring the remaining stake in Hulu from Comcast (CMCSA.O), the parent company of NBCUniversal, for a sum of at least $8.6 billion. The presence of Hulu on Disney+ will be distinctly marked, occupying its own “tile” alongside other entertainment brands such as Marvel, Star Wars, and Pixar, and featured in the promotional carousel at the top of the app. Disney aims to achieve profitability in its streaming business by the end of fiscal 2024, demonstrating its commitment to evolving in the competitive streaming landscape.

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