Disney Plus and Hulu to lose content — what’s going on?

The Disney Plus logo on a phone surrounded by popcorn
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

It's not quite a Thanos-level event, but Disney Plus and Hulu content will soon vanish. Where it goes? Well, there's no word yet, but we have some ideas for what will be cut from one of the best streaming services.

This news comes from the The Walt Disney Company's quarterly earnings call that took place yesterday (Wednesday, May 10). CEO Bob Iger and CFO Christine McCarthy explained that belts are tightening for both of its streaming services.

Variety reports that Iger is focused on saving $3 billion USD for 2023, a tenth of its content spend in the fiscal year of 2022 (which begins in October and ends in September). In a move that might sound familiar, Disney Plus and Hulu vaults will find those savings by removing content that doesn't get enough attention.

By deleting shows, movies and other material from its services, Disney will save money on the fees for residuals and royalties it pays, along with varying other costs. Iger explained the decision by stating that they're still learning about streaming, noting: "This is part of the maturation process as we grow into a business that we had never been in."

Analysis: Disney's pulling an HBO Max — is this the new normal?

Last year, we saw HBO Max gutted of its content in a similar cost-savings process. Disney seems to think they made the right move, and that might have something to do with HBO Max parent company Warner Bros. Discovery declaring it will see its streaming become profitable this year — ahead of its original 2024 projections.

And, much like how HBO Max lost some original movies you might not have heard of, and animated content that left fans upset, Disney Plus and Hulu will lose content. While Hulu's library is a bit too large for us to speculate about what's going, we have guesses as to what's getting removed from Disney Plus.

Lisette Olivera as Jess Valenzuela in National Treasure: Edge of History's poster

Lisette Olivera starred in National Treasure: Edge of History, a series in search of an audience (Image credit: Disney)

During Disney Plus' early years, the service continued to roll out new shows based on old IP that were somewhat surprising. For example, National Treasure: Edge of History happened, and I was confused, wondering about the market for a National Treasure show with a young cast and no Nicolas Cage.

Disney's also canceled its Mighty Ducks revival series after two seasons, and released an animated Night at the Museum movie that seemed odd. Wasn't the whole point of Night at the Museum the fact that it was CGI on top of live action?

Evan Rachel Wood as Dolores in Westworld season 4

Evan Rachel Wood's time on Westworld now lives on The Roku Channel and Tubi (Image credit: HBO)

We'd love to see these services keep all their content, but what seems more likely is that shows and movies that don't do well will get farmed out to the best free streaming services. Yes, that's what's happened with Westworld, so we'd expect it for shows and movies from the above as well. 

Ad-supported free TV and movies are popular at the moment, and let companies make money off of ad sales and streaming rights licensing. Yes, it's the wrong direction, as content becomes more splintered, but it appears to be the big trend right now.

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Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.