According to Deadline, Disney boss, Bob Chapek, has hinted that a potential merger Disney Plus and Hulu in the future. Chapek aired this sentiment while speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia + Tech Conference.
Hulu originally belonged to multiple studios – NBC Universal, Warner Bros., Disney, and Fox. The goal was for multiple studios to work together and operate a single platform. However, Disney eventually bought the other companies out, except for NBC. Disney has the majority stake in the streaming platform at 66% and has managed Hulu since 2019. Unfortunately for Disney, it cannot take full control of the streaming service because it is partially owned by Comcast, which owns NBC Universal and serves as a silent partner.
Chapek noted that Disney will have to acquire Comcast to take full charge of the streaming service. However, it cannot do so until 2024 due to the terms of its majority acquisition of 21st Century Fox. Chapek also commented that while he wouldn’t mind seeing the buyout push through sooner than the specified time, Comcast isn’t on the same page. Given the growth the streaming industry is experiencing, Comcast’s decision is hardly a surprise. Not to mention, the company and Disney haven't agreed on how much its 33% stake in Hulu, which is currently valued at $27.5 billion, would be worth in 2024.
Disney’s slate of movies from Marvel, Lucasfilm, National Geographic, Pixar, and Disney are different from Hulu’s titles. However, after consulting consumer feedback and company data, Chapek opined that he is convinced such a merger would "not be subject to organ rejection by the consumer.”
" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Specifically, here's what the Disney CEO had to say:
The thing that you worry about when you're Disney is brand friction, with some of the content that we may have in general entertainment. I am amazed every day in this job how elastic the Disney brand is. I would tell you that we have had no blowback whatsoever in terms of including that general entertainment content on a Disney-branded streaming proposition. I'm not saying it would be received exactly like that in the U.S., but it gives us some reason to believe that we have more degrees of freedom than anybody would have ever expected.
While Disney Plus is available outside of the United States, Hulu is exclusive to the US. All in all, Disney's subscription base is larger than Netflix if you combine Hulu and its 46.2 million subscribers with Disney Plus' 152.1 million.
Bob Chapek also expressed his belief that Disney Plus is underpriced relative to the value that it provides. The giant media company is increasing the subscription prices for its plans late this year with the ad-free version increasing from $7.99 a month to $10.99. The ad-supported version will remain $7.99. The company also plans to increase Hulu’s subscription fee from $12.99 to $14.99 for the ad-free plan, and $6.99 to $7.99 for the ad-supported plan.