On Wednesday, May 10, 2023, The Walt Disney Company held its Q2 earnings call. During the call, it was announced that Disney+ and Hulu streaming services would merge their content libraries into one app.
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The Walt Disney Company currently owns a 67% stake in Hulu, which makes the merging possible. Current Disney+ subscribers can purchase a bundle containing Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+, however, there don’t appear to be any plans to include ESPN+ in the merging.
The set schedule is to merge the two apps by the end of the calendar year, though they will remain separate libraries. The new streamlining of the apps would allow viewers to switch between Disney+ streaming and Hulu streaming content more easily without having to exit one app and open up the other.
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This may be a stepping stone for the two entities to merge into one single streaming service. Although streaming services grew extremely popular during the COVID lockdowns, businesses have struggled to profit using the streaming-content model in recent years.
During the earnings call, it was also revealed that Disney+ had lost 4 million subscribers worldwide (300,000 in the United States and Canada). This is following a loss of 2.4 million in the last quarter of 2022. Perhaps Disney and the CEO Bob Iger, believe that the continued merging of Disney+ with other services may result in subscriber growth.
With company-wide lay-offs and a current writer’s strike, it appears Disney may have problems creating new content for the platform–at least not at the pace it had been previously.
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Disney ended the quarter with 157.8 million subscribers at Disney+.
The Bright Side
However, despite less-than-ideal numbers for Disney+, the theme parks and cruise ships maintain a positive source of revenue for the Walt Disney Company.
Disney stock closed Wednesday at $101.14 per share.