If you’re one of the many people that subscribed to the Hulu + Disney Plus bundle, you may be in luck. Disney has announced that a new unified app, featuring the library from both streaming services, will be launching in beta next month. An “official” non-beta launch is scheduled for a Spring 2024 launch.
Update: See our Disney Plus and Hulu merger guide for all the details.
It’s unclear what future plans for the new unified app are right now, but it will initially be exclusive to the Disney Plus and Hulu bundle. It effectively means that you won’t need two separate apps to enjoy the best content from both services, and will be able to access it within a single unified interface.
These plans were originally announced by Disney CEO Bob Iger earlier this year, and comes after news that Disney will be buying Comcast's stake in Hulu for $8.61 billion. While Disney has had a controlling interest in Hulu since its buyout of 20th Century Fox, it means Disney can more or less do whatever it likes with Hulu — without having to account for wants and needs of other stakeholders.
This change will only affect subscribers in the U.S., since this is the only country where Disney’s Hulu is actually available. Other regions have a separate Disney Plus channel called Star, which first launched back in early 2021, and effectively functions as a Hulu equivalent. So by the end of the year, bundle subscribers will be able to enjoy a similar experience.
It’s not clear what this means for the future of Hulu as a separate brand. We could see it folded into Disney Plus and operate as a separate channel, akin to Star elsewhere, but Disney may just as easily keep it as a standalone service for those that want it.
Since Hulu has endured for 16 years, it seems unlikely that Disney would simply discard the brand once it takes complete control. No matter what the alternatives are, that doesn’t scream good decision-making.
We’re just going to have to wait and see what happens. At the very least we can expect Disney to push the Disney Plus + Hulu bundle, and use the combined app as an incentive for users to switch.
Currently that the Disney Plus + Hulue bundle is priced at $10 a monthwith ads and $20 a month without. Or you can add ESPN Plus into the mix for $15 with ads and $25 without. Just don’t expect to see live sports on Disney Plus before the end of the year.