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Disney is finally buying all of Hulu, but this is what that actually means for Disney Plus, Hulu subscribers

You'll still need two subscriptions if you want all of the content

Trio of logos for the Disney plus bundle that includes Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu.

For years now, the Disney bundle has given you access to Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+, but all three services have existed as entirely separate apps. Following the news that Disney has finally bought out Comcast’s stake in Hulu, CEO Bob Iger has announced that integration between the two apps is set to begin in December.

What Disney’s complete control of Hulu means for subscribers

Disney has long had an ownership stake in Hulu, so you could purchase subscriptions to both services in a single bundle. Now, Disney’s full ownership stake means that the company can begin the process of launching a single app that contains multiple properties, which is more like the way Warner Bros.’ Max app works.

Iger said during a recent investor call that the company was on track to launch “a one-app experience on Disney+” by March of 2024. Practically, that will mean that all of the content you now watch on Hulu will become available inside of Disney+, and the Hulu app will cease to exist. Hulu will now be known as “Hulu on Disney+,” but it remains to be seen exactly what the new app experience will look like. It seems likely that Hulu will maintain its own hub, which has shows like Only Murders in the Building and The Bear, which don’t fit neatly into Disney+’s existing brand identity.

Bundle subscribers will be the first to see the integration

If you’re a subscriber to the Disney bundle, you’ll be the first to see what Hulu will look like when it sits inside Disney+. This beta rollout will be aimed specifically at parents who might want to set up parental blocks around the more adult-oriented content that will be coming to the platform with Hulu, and the goal is for a full launch to happen in March.

“We are bullish about the future of our streaming business,” Iger said. “Imagine the opportunities a combined Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN streaming experience can offer us as a company and consumers.”

Iger also added that he believes this new, combined Disney+ will lead to upselling opportunities and less churn, as subscribers are apparently less likely to let go of a subscription when it’s bundled.

You’ll still need two separate subscriptions, or the Disney bundle, to get everything

Although this new single-app experience is obviously designed primarily for the bundlers, Iger didn’t offer any indication that this new approach would also lead to a change in how subscriptions work. You won’t be forced to pay for Hulu to get access to Disney+, and if you want access to both, you’ll still need to pay for both, either through two separate subscriptions or through the bundle (which is the cheaper option if you want both).

If you choose to bundle, though, you’ll lose access to both services if you decide to unsubscribe. Of course, you could always resubscribe to a single streamer, but doing that may ultimately be more work than it’s worth. That’s definitely what Iger’s hoping.

Joe Allen
Joe Allen is a freelance culture writer based in upstate New York. His work has been published in The Washington Post, The…
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