Presently, the anticipation for Doctor Who’s latest season finding a new home on Disney Plus is tinged with concern. Recent discussions surrounding Bob Iger’s decision hint at the potential demise of the streaming platform. Is the strain of being Marvel’s primary hub finally showing its impact?
The genesis of this uncertainty emerged when Disney disclosed its intentions to merge Disney Plus and Hulu, aiming to actualize the “one app experience” articulated by Bob Iger in May 2023. This consolidation is slated to materialize next month, consolidating both streaming platforms and their content under a single streaming service.
The looming question arises: Will Disney Plus cease to exist, or is Hulu destined for the chopping block? Marvel’s inconsistent streaming releases—barring standouts like Loki and perhaps Moon Knight—and the polarizing presence of movies such as Thor: Love and Thunder have cast a shadow over the streamer’s reputation. Despite narrowing its losses in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared to the staggering $1.4 billion loss in the last quarter of 2022 (amounting to over $300 million), Disney, as per official statements, doesn’t plan to shutter the platform.
However, the envisioned amalgamated experience remains in limbo as Disney has yet to finalize its deal with Comcast to acquire its one-third stake in Hulu, proposing an $8 billion offer to become the sole proprietor of the streamer’s content.
The amalgamated app is slated to launch initially in beta form in the United States in December 2023, followed by an official launch in the spring of the following year. In anticipation, Disney has already introduced a new dual bundle comprising Disney Plus and Hulu, available for download as separate apps. The ad-supported version of the bundle costs $9.99/month, while the ad-free option comes at $19.99/month.
Customers opting for the mentioned bundle will receive an exclusive invitation to subscribe to the unified app, essentially an updated iteration of the existing Disney Plus app. Notably, this unified experience will only encapsulate both streaming services in a singular interface, allowing simultaneous access to both. While some content, like Marvel’s Echo, will overlap between the two, the libraries of the individual streamers will remain distinct.
Presently, there are no plans to eradicate either streaming service. Instead, the revised version aims to facilitate seamless toggling between Disney Plus and Hulu while enabling Disney to expand its advertising revenue.