Hulu and Disney+ content will be merged into one app, but services will remain separate – The Hollywood Reporter

disney It will combine Hulu and Disney+ content into one app in the US, CEO Bob Iger announced Wednesday.

The company plans to start rolling out new apps by the end of the year. At this time, this option is only available to consumers who have subscribed to both services.

“While we will continue to offer Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ as standalone options, this is a logical evolution of our DTC service that offers significant opportunities for advertisers, while providing stronger opportunities for bundled subscribers. , providing streamlined access to content, resulting in higher viewer engagement and ultimately a more unified streaming experience,” Iger said on the earnings call.

“The advertising potential of this multi-platform is incredibly exciting,” added Iger.

Mr. Iger said that Disney comcastHis stake in Hulu has yet to be “fully decided,” but after looking at the business possibilities, he’s currently maintaining general entertainment content (as seen on Hulu) in combination with Disney. He believes there are advantages to doing so.

“In my first earnings call after returning home, I said everything was on the plan. And in fact, everything was on the table,” Iger said. “But I was given three more months to study this carefully and figure out what the best way to grow this business is. It’s clear that the combination of ‘is a very strong combination’ from a subscriber perspective, from a subscriber acquisition and subscriber retention perspective, and also from an advertiser perspective. ”

“How that ultimately plays out is somewhat in Comcast’s hands, and it’s basically in the hands of conversations and negotiations with them,” Iger said, noting that Disney is already “already” with Comcast. He added that he was having “a sincere” conversation.

Disney owns a majority stake in Hulu and Comcast owns a third. After January 2024, Comcast can use a put option to force Disney to buy its shares, and Disney can use a buy option to force Comcast to sell its shares.

Disney executives have previously expressed great interest in partnering with the streaming platform. Iger appeared on CNBC on Feb. 9 to discuss Disney’s desire to move away from “undifferentiated entertainment,” and said of Hulu: seller of it. ”

The CEO further emphasized that point at an investor conference in March, saying the company continues to evaluate the best options for Hulu.

“What we are doing now is because we have reached an agreement with Comcast, which owns two-thirds of Hulu and may own 100 percent. We’re doing careful research, and we’re seriously researching all the companies that are competitive.” Knowing that we have a great platform on Hulu, we want to strengthen our relationship. I think,” Iger said at an investor conference.

“We have very strong original shows, some really award-winning original shows, some of which are distributed by FX, who are not only producers but also great brands, and a great library. So it’s a solid platform, and it’s a very attractive platform for advertisers, because they’ve already proven that advertising is valuable, and they’re proving that advertising is valuable to us. However, the current environment is very challenging and we want to understand where it might head before making any major decisions about investment levels or commitments to that business. he continued.

Until Mr. Iger’s comments this winter, Disney seemed poised to buy Comcast shares. But in the fall, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said: is also represented Although he was interested in taking over Hulu’s ownership, many viewed his comments as a move to drive up the price of his company’s stock.

On Wednesday, Iger appeared to make Hulu an integral part of Disney while touting its advertising power.

Hulu’s SVOD platform, along with its SVOD and live TV packages, is delivering more revenue per user than Disney makes with its other streaming services, despite lower segment performance in the first quarter. .

But Iger said Disney also plans to raise prices for ad-free slots later this year, which “will better reflect the value of our content offerings.” This comes after media and entertainment companies had already raised prices, which Iger said had “proven to be successful.”

In the three months ending April 1, Hulu’s average monthly revenue per paying subscriber for SVOD Only dropped from $12.46 to $11.73, according to Disney, due to “lower advertising revenue per subscriber. This was partially offset by a decline and an increase in multi-product subscribers.” This is due to the increase in average retail prices. The average monthly income per paying subscriber for the Live TV + SVOD package has increased from $87.90 a year ago to $92.32 for him.

In the direct-to-consumer sales segment, Hulu’s decline in total operating profit was driven by Disney’s higher programming and production costs and lower advertising revenue in the quarter, which the company said was “driven by growth in subscription revenue. It was partially offset,” he said. Marketing costs are reduced, albeit to a lesser extent. ”

In the three months ending April 1, Hulu’s paying subscribers (which includes both SVOD and Live TV and SVOD packages) remained broadly flat year-over-year at 48.2 million, up from 48 million in the same period last year.these numbers almost lined up Disney+ had 46.3 million domestic subscribers (down 1% year-on-year).

It will continue.

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