Disney’s move to purchase all of Hulu ends years of speculation from many who thought that they would not. The rest of the industry better take note because if they thought things were rough when it came to ESPN negotiations before, now Disney owns a TV streaming service that can compete directly with any provider who does not want to pay its asking price. Get ready. Because next time there is an outage you will see friendly suggestions from Disney recommending Hulu Plus Live TV.
This is how I expect Disney to utilize Hulu going forward
Everything will have a logical place to live
Hulu will allow Disney to stream content that would never fit into Disney+. It was honestly too much of a stretch to put Deadpool and the Netflix-based Marvel series on the service, even with a sign-in key, but from here on out if Disney wants to produce or license content that does not fall into family entertainment it will have the perfect place to do so.
Hulu will remain a separate service
Don’t expect Disney to merge all of the content from Hulu into Disney+. They are very different services. Disney+ is a nice easy service to explain. It’s a repository of content from all of Disney’s major family-centered arms, those being Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Lucas Films, and National Geographic. It is an easy sell and passes the elevator conversation test with flying colors. The company will likely continue to market all three of its streaming services as a bundle and continue to build them into the live TV service as a package.
Hulu will step up original productions
Now that all of the money will flow in one direction we should expect to see more original content from Hulu. Though it may not be as aggressive as has been seen with Disney+, due to cost cutting from up top, original content drives subscriptions. And now that Disney is the only player in the Hulu game it means all of the responsibility for making money falls on its shoulders too.
Liberal use of intellectual property
Disney owns a lot of intellectual property outside of the big Disney brands. Alien and Predator come to mind right away. Die Hard is another. It would not be at all surprising to see shows or original movies based on those properties and a lot more. Prey, a preditor prequel, already streams on Hulu.
Its catalog could lose Comcast-owned titles
Comcast has been steadily growing Peacock on the back of live sports and content from NBC Universal products. Unless it decides that it makes more money licensing its shows and movies than it does keeping it in-house, then more could be pulled from Hulu in favor of home cooking.
In the end, it means that the questions regarding if Disney will buy or sell the service will probably end some of the chatter around the service. Hulu is one of the original big 3 streamers and a very popular one for cord-cutters both in its form as an on-demand provider and as a cable replacement. Its numbers have been growing consistently as more and more people leave cable behind. The move will add to Bob Iger’s legacy of acquiring major media properties and put the company in place to either flex on other TV providers or build its value further for an eventual sale.