For the past four years or so, Disney, at least in the United States, has been in an awkward spot with its streaming services The company launched Disney+, its main streaming service, in 2019, where it currently hosts a good chunk of its content. But Disney actually already had a streaming service, Hulu, before that, which it obtained as part of its deal to buy out Fox that same deal. Now, the company is finally going to merge the apps for both services.
Disney CEO Bob Iger has confirmed that a beta version of a merged Disney+/Hulu app would launch next month, ahead of an official release in spring 2024. This merged app will be available to users who are both Disney+ and Hulu subscribers, and will provide access to the content that’s available on both platforms. This comes after Disney announced its intentions to acquire Comcast’s minority stake in Hulu, thus making Hulu fully Disney-owned—and thus, letting Disney do whatever it wants with it. This sale is not finalized yet, but it’s not clear if that deal needs to be completed before the merged app can be deployed.
Launching a merged app is probably something Disney has been looking forward to for a long time, because Hulu is, really, just a US thing. In other parts of the world, there is Star+, which is a content hub with most of the content that’s hosted on Hulu in the US, but within Disney+. In Latin America, Star+ is technically a separate streaming service, but it looks just like Disney+ UI-wise. So really, the only country offering two separate experiences to users is really the US. Disney+ offers a combo subscription, but it doesn’t change the fact that you actually have two apps for Disney-owned content.
Even though there will be an option for a merged app, Disney+ and Hulu are still separate content packages (at least for now). It’s also unclear if Hulu’s live TV functionality or add-on packages will be available in the Disney+ app—subscribers with those packages might be stuck on the current Hulu app for a while longer.