Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ Bundle to Take on Netflix

Disney announced that it will leverage its many assets to offer an inexpensive streaming bundle aimed directly at Netflix: It will bundle Disney+, the ad-supported version of Hulu, and ESPN+ into a $12.99/month bundle, a savings of $5 less than the individual services.

That price isn’t coincidental: $12.99 is the cost of market leader Netflix’s most popular monthly plan.

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“Nothing is more important to us than getting this right,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said during a post-earnings conference call at which the bundle was announced. The bundle will launch in November when Disney+, the company’s new streaming service, goes live, he said.

Disney previously announced that Disney+, which will offer family-friendly content plus offerings from Disney’s vast range of properties like ABC, Pixar, Star Wars, and the Marvel comics universe, will cost just $6.99 per month. The ad-supported version of Hulu—the service now has over 28 million subscribers—is $5.99 per month. And ESPN+, which offers mostly sports that are not available on ESPN, costs $4.99 per month. So the bundle will save consumers who want all three $5 per month.

Disney is entering a crowded market that is about to get even more crowded thanks to Apple’s coming Apple TV+, plus new services from AT&T, Comcast, WarnerMedia/HBO, and others. But with this kind of pricing, and its incredible content library, Disney is about as close to a sure thing as is possible.

Disney+ debuts November 12 and will offer a 12-episode Star Wars series called The Mandalorian at launch, along with over 300 movies. The firm promises 25 new original series, over 10 new movies, 7,500 past TV show episodes, 100 recent movies, and 400 library titles including the entire Disney Vault in the first year alone.

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Conversation 24 comments

  • chocolate starfish

    07 August, 2019 - 3:10 am

    <p>Ad supported version of Hulu! There's the problem. Why anyone pays to see ads is puzzling to me.</p><p><br></p><p>Netflix is ad free, at least in my country Australia. </p><p><br></p><p>Either you pay for ads or you don't! There is no middle ground imho.</p>

    • mattbg

      Premium Member
      07 August, 2019 - 7:04 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#447759">In reply to chocolate starfish:</a></em></blockquote><p>Newspapers have ads despite being paid for, as does live-streamed TV.</p><p><br></p><p>Would not be surprised to see Netflix add it at some point, if only as a tier. The reason they haven’t is that they have generous investors, which established companies do not.</p>

      • compunut

        Premium Member
        07 August, 2019 - 7:45 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#447779">In reply to mattbg:</a></em></blockquote><p>This is why I don't pay for newspapers or live-streamed TV, either. I agree with C.S. above, we should never have to pay to watch ads.</p><p><br></p><p>I subscribe to Amazon Prime, but I am now much less likely to use Prime Video because they now have pre-roll ads. I no longer consider Prime Video to be a perk of Prime subscriptions for this reason!</p>

        • Komosis

          Premium Member
          07 August, 2019 - 8:37 am

          <blockquote><em><a href="#447782">In reply to compunut:</a></em></blockquote><p>Were you aware that the pre-roll ads are immediately skippable? I just learned this, so I thought I would share. Otherwise, I am always happy to see competition. Good on Disney!</p>

          • mikes_infl

            07 August, 2019 - 4:12 pm

            <blockquote><a href="#447796"><em>In reply to Komosis:</em></a><em>How? Just press the fast forward button on the Fire TV remote, or whichever method you use to fast forward.</em></blockquote><p><br></p>

        • skane2600

          07 August, 2019 - 10:40 am

          <blockquote><em><a href="#447782">In reply to compunut:</a></em></blockquote><p>My biggest complaint about Prime Video is the way they interlace their subscription-based videos with paid ones. </p>

    • jgraebner

      Premium Member
      07 August, 2019 - 2:38 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#447759">In reply to chocolate starfish:</a></em></blockquote><p>The licensing costs involved with Hulu offering current broadcast/cable TV programming certainly would make it financially impossible to offer that programming ad-free for only $6/month. I do think they should seriously consider dropping the ads for their original programming as well as, where possible, for less-expensive licensed content.</p>

      • skane2600

        07 August, 2019 - 3:38 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#447891">In reply to jgraebner:</a></em></blockquote><p>The problem with Hulu, IMO, is the idea of paying a monthly charge to watch TV shows you could have watched for free yesterday. </p>

  • docpaul

    07 August, 2019 - 9:47 am

    <p>Do you know the price for the bundle with ad-free Hulu? </p>

    • jgraebner

      Premium Member
      07 August, 2019 - 2:34 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#447816">In reply to DocPaul:</a></em></blockquote><p>They didn't say, but it is currently $6 extra for ad-free. With their large selection of current broadcast shows, I'm pretty sure that Hulu's licensing costs are the highest in the industry. I'm guessing they won't be able to reduce the ad-free premium too much for the bundle, but I hope they at least offer it as an add-on. Separately, Hulu Premium (no-ads), Disney+, and Hulu+ would be $23.97/month. If they offer Hulu Premium as a $6 add-on to the bundle, that would be $18.99/month.</p>

    • Skolvikings

      07 August, 2019 - 3:57 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#447816">In reply to DocPaul:</a></em></blockquote><p>I have the ad-free Hulu too. Hopefully there’s a bundle that is just $6 more than the one they announced.</p>

  • skane2600

    07 August, 2019 - 10:36 am

    <p>I see how this could be an attractive bundle to big sports fans but if you're not one of them, it's not very attractive. IMO Hulu is a 2nd-tier streaming service at best. </p>

    • Chris Payne

      08 August, 2019 - 1:03 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#447843">In reply to skane2600:</a></em></blockquote><p>Hulu is only good for Adventure Time!</p>

  • lvthunder

    Premium Member
    07 August, 2019 - 11:32 am

    <p>I wonder if they will make Disney+ and Apple TV channel like HBO, Showtime, and CBS All Access are? The TV app could be useful if all the apps used it.</p>

    • jgraebner

      Premium Member
      07 August, 2019 - 2:34 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#447854">In reply to lvthunder:</a></em></blockquote><p>In the announcement yesterday, they said that they expected to offer it as add-ons to Apple TV, Amazon, etc., but that deals weren't yet in place.</p>

  • glenn8878

    07 August, 2019 - 3:26 pm

    <p>I cancelled many streaming services. Largely terrible and disappointing content and some spotty service. Disney won’t be the exception. I already tried Hulu. I tried Espn as a Spectrum streaming service. Nothing to watch. They should be cheap enough as an on demand service. $5 a month is probably worth it. </p>

  • Lordbaal

    07 August, 2019 - 4:15 pm

    <p>Disney own Hulu, so why would they put all their stuff on Hulu, instead of creating their own streaming service?</p>

    • Steven Ball

      09 August, 2019 - 8:56 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#447913">In reply to Lordbaal:</a></em></blockquote><p>I wondered the same thing. Disney announced their streaming service before the Hulu acquisition, so maybe they didn't want to rollback the work that had been already done. Also the stand-alone service might be more enticing to parents that don't want Hulu. </p>

  • mikes_infl

    07 August, 2019 - 4:21 pm

    <p>We've taken to using streaming services in a seasonal fashion. When a few of the shows we want to watch have finished the 2nd or 3rd season, then we subscribe for a month or two on the service that provides those shows. When we're done, we either cancel or put the service in vacation mode depending on what they offer. </p><p><br></p><p>Instead of watching the shows as they trickle out, and then later find that it was cancelled anyway, we watch the whole show a few episodes at a time until it's over. We find it much nicer this way and have less frustration from those interesting shows that get dropped.</p>

  • gandalforce

    Premium Member
    07 August, 2019 - 7:48 pm

    <p>Will they make Disney+ an add on for Hulu?</p>

    • Skolvikings

      08 August, 2019 - 12:26 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#447953">In reply to Gandalforce:</a></em></blockquote><p>I read elsewhere that yes, that's going to happen.</p>

  • richfrantz

    Premium Member
    07 August, 2019 - 11:10 pm

    <p>I left Hulu when they started charging me to watch ads. I will not.</p>

    • Skolvikings

      08 August, 2019 - 12:26 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#447972">In reply to richfrantz:</a></em></blockquote><p>You can pay a few more bucks per month and have no ads. I think it's great they give users that choice versus a one-size-fits-all model.</p>

  • hellcatm

    23 September, 2019 - 3:01 pm

    <p>I wish you could take out the ESPN + and pay $8.99</p>

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