CEO Bob Chapek is considering merging the Hulu streaming service with Disney+, creating a single online option for viewing the company’s movies and TV shows.
Walt Disney CEO Bob Chapek is considering merging the Hulu streaming service with Disney+, creating a single online option for viewing the company’s movies and TV shows in the US.
The executive, speaking on Wednesday at Goldman Sachs Group’s telecommunications and media conference, said Disney+ already offers programmes for adult viewers through its Star brand outside of the US, and the company is moving more general entertainment to the Disney+ service domestically.
Disney has had success selling Hulu and Disney+ together in a bundle at a discounted price, Chapek said. A combination of the two would eliminate friction consumers feel when they switch between the apps, he said. Disney+ includes movies and TV shows for kids and families, while Hulu features some edgier content for adults.
Any merger of Hulu and Disney+ would require the company to buy the one-third of Hulu owned by Comcast. The two companies have an agreement for Disney to acquire Comcast’s stake in 2024, under terms that value the whole business at a minimum of US$27.5-billion. Chapek said he’d like to acquire that stake sooner.
Disney wants to integrate data gleaned from both TV viewing and theme park visits to create a broader connection with consumers, Chapek said. The company also offers the ESPN+ streaming service in the US for sports fans.
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, speaking later at the same conference, said he’d be interested in owning Hulu if it was for sale. He also suggested Comcast might get a higher price for its interest if Hulu was auctioned off. Their sale agreement says that Hulu’s value will be assessed by independent experts.