Disney+ is raising prices and cracking down on account sharing
Disney+ and Hulu will merge into a single app later this year
A “one-app experience” that combines Disney+ and Hulu content will launch in late 2023, Disney CEO Bob Iger has announced during the company’s latest earnings call. He said the company will continue offering Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ as standalone options, but combining services “is a logical progression” of its direct-to-consumer offerings “that will provide greater opportunities for advertisers, while giving bundle subscribers access to more robust and streamlined content…”
Since Comcast still owns 33 percent of Hulu, this announcement suggests that Disney could be thinking of buying the cable TV and media company’s stake. Iger didn’t elaborate on the company’s plans, though, and only said that Disney has had “constructive” talks with Comcast about the future of Hulu.
In addition to announcing the combined streaming app, Iger has also revealed that Disney+ is getting another price increase after adding $3 on top of its ad-free streaming tier’s monthly fee in December. He didn’t say when the company is raising the service’s prices, but when it does, the ad-free and ad-supported tiers will cost more than $11 and $8, respectively.
While Disney reported (PDF) a 26 percent decrease in operating losses for its streaming business, a $659 million loss is still massive. The price hike’s announcement didn’t come out of nowhere, seeing as the company promised investors that the business will be profitable by the end of the 2024 fiscal year. The question is whether the combined Disney+ and Hulu app could convince new users to pay for a subscription — or for old subscribers to come back. Disney+ lost 4 million subscribers in the first quarter of 2023 after shedding 2.4 million users in the previous quarter.