Disney is all set to embark on a very special journey into the world of online streaming. The company is rumored to be taking over Hulu, which is a popular online streaming service. Disney is in talks with Comcast about gaining full control of Hulu. Both companies are planning to launch their very own streaming services, and it will be interesting to track their progress. The decline in the audience for traditional TV has led these major corporations to venture into the online world.
The companies confirmed that Comcast, with its ownership of one-third of Hulu, will be able to sell its stake to Disney again in 2024 for a minimum price of $5.8 billion. Till then, Comcast will take a backseat and be a silent investor.
How did it start?
Hulu came into existence over a decade ago when the major entertainment companies were still new to the idea of digital media. The emergence of YouTube as the ultimate home for digital video led to the development of streaming platforms. Netflix revolutionized the way we seek entertainment by creating a library of seasons of famous TV shows and movies that users would be able to stream anywhere and everywhere. Hulu took on the responsibility of streaming TV episodes online after they were aired on TV by the parent companies.
Today, Hulu continues to showcase a variety of network TV episodes, and it also creates its own original content. Users can subscribe for just $6 a month. The more recent cable-like service, which also provides live TV channels costs $45 a month.
The last few years have seen a drastic rise in the number of streaming services all over the world. More and more people are being inspired to give up on their cable subscriptions, which is why companies like Disney have decided to put themselves back in the game through the streaming community. Disney Plus, the recent streaming service to be launched by Disney, will give tough competition to streaming platforms from AT&T, Google, Hulu and HBO. Traditional TV bundles will soon be completely out of the game.
Media giants like Disney are putting their TV networks on the backseat as they try to find the best way to launch attractive streaming services. Not only will this help them to make up for lost revenue from the fewer cable subscriptions, but this will also give them a safety net for the future. To be honest, Disney's agreement with Comcast does not come as a shock to the community considering that Disney already owned the majority of Hulu after it absorbed Fox’s stake with its purchase of Fox’s entertainment businesses. Disney is on a rampage to gain its worth back.
What are Disney’s plans?
Being able to control Hulu will give Disney more power and flexibility when it comes to launching their own streaming services. Disney Plus will most probably be kids-focused and will be available for $7 a month by this year. Disney is also planning to offer discounted bundles with Hulu's aid. Moreover, they will also launch their sports service, ESPN Plus.
Disney will have to be careful about how it proceeds because the market is becoming overcrowded. Comcast’s NBCUniversal is preparing to launch a streaming service in 2020 while AT&T’s WarnerMedia will soon be launching a streaming platform as well. Apple has also joined the game recently.
One problem that might occur due to this sudden rise in the number of streaming services in the market is the fragmentation of content. As shows and movies get divided across services, you might have to subscribe to more than one streaming service in order to keep up with your favorite shows.
Disney is on its way to taking back its library of content for its own platforms. They will add content from the Pixar, Marvel and “Star Wars” movies which are available on other streaming sites to their own application. Netflix has popular shows like “Friends” and “The Office,” which might be claimed by the entertainment companies who want to create their own streaming services. However, this will lead to the companies missing out on lucrative licensing revenue. It might not be the easiest decision to take when the revenue of the companies will depend on their ability to defeat the competition.
Disney is planning to split its rich treasury of TV shows and movies between the two entertainment streaming services it will be managing, Disney+ and Hulu. While Disney+ will have all the content from Marvel, Pixar, and Star Wars, Hulu will have more adult shows. Programs like “Sons of Anarchy” and “American Horror Story" belonging to FX will become a part of Hulu. NatGeo will be accessible from both the services.
Earlier, Disney Plus was known as Disney Play, but it has since then been renamed. Disney+ is going to have its fair share of original content to keep the audience riveted. The company has announced the possibility of a second original, live-action Star Wars series which would directly come to the streaming site. Disney is slowly announcing even more shows so that more and more fans sign up for the service. The upcoming titles are not only original, but they also seem like expensive productions which will no doubt be impressive. The MCU will welcome fresh content after the runaway success of Endgame.
Disney Animation and Pixar films can be rather difficult to access, but with Disney Plus, you will have them on your fingertips. You will also get to witness the magic of the live-action remakes of Disney's animated classics directly from the streaming service.Disney has taken over a large portion of the entertainment industry, so there is no definite way to predict all the content that will come on the streaming services. But reports confirm that work on several original TV shows has already begun.
Hulu will definitely prove to be a crucial weapon in Disney’s arsenal as the company tries to assert its dominance over Netflix. Disney estimates that Hulu will have as many as 60 million subscribers by the year 2024.