Hulu could be headed the way of the dodo. A new report from Collider says that the media giant is considering folding the streaming service into their platform, Disney+. there has been speculation about this possibility in the past, but this is the first time the story has earnestly made the rounds in the press. It is seeming like a real possibility.
It would make a lot of sense for Disney+ to merge with Hulu. While Disney+ is riding high with around 73 million subscribers, Hulu is lagging behind with around 37 million. There is no denying that the brand recognition of Disney does so much to help maintain its subscriber base. This is evident because there have been criticisms about Disney+ lacking a robust library of content. If they decided to integrate the Hulu library into their streaming platform, they would have one of the most prominent streaming libraries available to consumers.
All of this has to do with the Disney/Fox merger that allowed the Mouse House to have a controlling interest in Hulu. Add to that the many 20th Century Fox films that Disney now holds the distribution rights to and Mickey has a cornucopia of content for consumers. Unfortunately, the Disney name and brand have cultivated a family-friendly feeling over the last century. Disney does not feel comfortable putting movies like Alien or Predator on their current Disney+ platform, but they know these kinds of properties hold powerful sway over pop culture connoisseurs.
So while they might be happy to use Hulu for such content, they know that the Hulu brand is not as strong as Disney. Plus, if Disney were to grandfather in all of their current subscriber bases into one platform, they would be looking at a service with roughly 110 monthly subscribers. That kind of monthly revenue would be gargantuan for Disney and they have to know it’s their best option. Exactly how long that would take to finalize and how they would market it to consumers is a whole other ball of wax.
As streaming services become more and more prevalent in the media landscape, they are going to do everything in their power to command the attention (and wallets) of subscribers. Hulu is a good offer in the streaming marketplace right now, but if it joined forces with Disney+ as a service that offered an enormous library of movies and television along with a live TV option? There is an argument to be made that such a product would be the motherlode of streaming services.
If Hulu and Disney+ do end up becoming one single service, it is still probably down the road. And it is a decision that these corporations will have to make very clear to consumers. The era of streaming is about to really take off in this new decade and this merger could be one of the more historical moments in the media distribution landscape. It is going to be fascinating to see how all of this shakes out and how consumers end up feeling about it. Rest assured, if it is the best business decision, you can bet Disney will pull the trigger.