Disney CEO Bob Iger says there’s no reason a bundle for the company’s three streaming services can’t exist in the future.
Iger spoke to a group this afternoon for an executive Q&A following Disney’s major, $52.4 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox, about what’s next for the future. The first question that Iger got was about Hulu, which Disney now has a 60 percent stake in, and how it will co-exist alongside Disney’s two upcoming stand-alone streaming services, one for ESPN and another for Disney’s family programming. Iger said while all three will be different enough to exist on their own, the idea that a bundle could exist in the future that collects all three for consumers isn’t out of the question.
“There’s no reason we couldn’t envision one bundle if that is what the consumer wants,” Iger said.
Iger added that there’s no reason those streaming services couldn’t exist under one umbrella, but added that the company’s “current thinking is not to do that.” That means Hulu will exist for content that doesn’t belong to one of Disney’s four major core family brands: Disney, Pixar, Lucasfilm and Marvel Studios. Content from ABC television or more mature series from 20th Century Fox, like FX series, will all exist on Hulu.
That means most Marvel, Pixar, Disney and Lucasfilm series will not exist on Hulu. They will remain exclusively on Disney’s upcoming stand-alone streaming app, which is set to launch sometime in 2019 for a price substantially below what Netflix currently charges subscribers.
One thing Iger made perfectly clear earlier in the day: Disney is still planning to invest heavily in Hulu.
“Hulu obviously is a great opportunity to expand in the direct-to-consumer space," Iger said in an earlier investors call today. "Owning roughly a third of it was great, but having control of it will enable us to greatly accelerate Hulu into that space and become an even more viable competitor to those that are already out there."
As it stands right now, Time Warner continues to own a 10 percent stake in Hulu and Comcast’s NBCUniversal owns 30 percent. Disney could offer to buy both companies out, giving the company full control of the platform, but sources told Variety both companies want to retain their ownership.