Tied into an effort to drive up usage and keep churn in check, Disney has launched a revamped version of the Disney+ app that integrates content from the Hulu SVoD service.

Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor

March 27, 2024

2 Min Read
Disney Plus with Hulu screenshot taken March 27, 2024
(Source: Disney)

Following a beta test period that got underway late last year, Disney has moved ahead with the commercial launch of a revamped Disney+ app that weaves in content from the Hulu subscription video-on-demand service. Subscribers to both streaming services now have access to the Hulu SVoD service in the new Disney+ app.

Disney+ and Hulu will continue to be sold as standalone services, but Disney hopes the tightly integrated Disney+ app will get consumers to take both services, minimize subscriber churn and drive more overall engagement and usage. Disney is also using the new unified app to steer Disney+ and Hulu subs toward a broader streaming bundle that also features the ESPN+ service.

Another aim is for the integrated app to appeal to a broader audience than Disney+ and Hulu can on their own. Disney ended its fiscal Q1 of 2024 with 46.5 million paid Disney+ subs in the US and Canada, and 43.9 million paid Hulu SVoD customers.

"Its whole goal is to make happier subscribers and healthier subscribers, provide them convenience, deeper engagement, better retention, and increase the value of the Disney bundle for our subscribers," Joe Earley, president of direct-to-consumer for Disney Entertainment, told The Hollywood Reporter.

The technical integration will also be used for the coming launch of a direct-to-consumer (DTC) streaming offering of the ESPN flagship service, Aaron LaBerge, president and CTO for Disney Entertainment and ESPN, told the pub. Disney plans to launch the ESPN DTC service in the fall of 2025.

LaBerge told Variety that the new tech stack for the revamped Disney+ app can support live streaming channels and that the ESPN networks will be integrated with Disney+ for the Latin American market sometime this summer. However, pay-TV channels offered via the Hulu + Live TV package will not be integrated in Disney+, at least for now.

Debuting in the US, the combo app aims to provide a deeper integration by linking Hulu content into personalized content recommendations and other content featured on Disney+. The original beta version of the combo app featured a separate Hulu tile/hub that appeared alongside other content tiles/categories (Disney, Pixar, Star Wars and National Geographic) that were part of the original Disney+ service.

To encourage customers to add Hulu, standalone Disney+ subs in the US will see multiple upgrade prompts inside the Disney+ app, Variety notes. A small subset of Hulu titles are not offered on the Disney+ app, including ABC's "Modern Family," due to content licensing restrictions, the pub added.

Disney also debuted a new spot to tout the Hulu on Disney+ offering:

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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