Disney+ Poised To Merge With Another Streaming Service
Disney+ and Hulu could be soon combining into one streaming platform.
In the war between streaming services, there are a few that rise above the rest in popularity; two of the tops are Disney and Hulu. Disney has become one of the powerhouses with its acquisition and expansion of both the Marvel and Star Wars franchises through movies and television. Hulu has established itself as the best place outside of cable or satellite for live TV, and now these two top streaming services could be joining forces against the rest of the field.
When speaking to a conference of tech people, Disney CEO Bob Chapek revealed that the long-rumored merger of Disney+ and Hulu is still a long way off. While Hulu has been operated by Disney since they bought 20th Century Fox in 2019, the House of Mouse can’t continue to buy out Comcast until 2024. Chapek says that he would love to execute the purchase (and likely the merger) sooner, but the expected price tag of $27.5 billion doesn’t seem to be going anywhere but up with the recent increase in streaming value.
How exactly a merger between the wide variety of Hulu content and the “all-ages” range of Disney could work remains to be seen. The ability to create more adult content like American Horror Story, Archer, and Shameless while remaining one of the leaders in family-friendly content is a tall order. However, there is some precedent for Disney to add more mature content with the inclusion of the Netflix Marvel shows like Daredevil, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and The Defenders.
One massive benefit of a merger between the two companies is the combination of subscriber numbers will put the resulting company near the top in subscription services. Disney+ is sitting at a healthy 151 million subscribers at the end of the fiscal third quarter. While that is one of the highest, it brings it to third place behind the approximately 200 million subscribers for Amazon and the undisputed king of the hill, Netflix’s 220 million.
The merger between the two companies would add Hulu‘s 46 million, bringing them to 197 million; with the constant Marvel, Star Wars, and classic Disney content forthcoming, there is no reason not to anticipate a new king forthcoming.
One of the ways that Disney could increase their numbers and possibly leave all others in the dust will be the expansion of Hulu’s access worldwide. At the moment, Disney+ is available in one way or another in North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, and Europe, while Hulu is only licensed to offer streaming in the United States.
When Disney buys out Comcast and Hulu joins the streaming system under their umbrella, the possibility of Hulu offering their content to multiple continents could blast their subscriptions into the stratosphere.
While fans overseas may still have a long wait ahead of them, the problem with having to choose between multiple streaming services may be nearing its end. With Disney offering Disney+ and their five major pillars (Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, National Geographic, and Disney), Hulu, Hulu Live, and Disney content, Amazon and Warner Bros. Discovery will have a hard time fighting for third place. And Netflix will have to step up its game to stay in the first place.