Will Disney bundle all of its streaming content going forward? The New York Times has reported that Disney may be looking to put Hulu, ESPN+ and its coming branded service into a discounted bundle. The bundle could give the new service, which is expected in 2019, a boost as it enters a marketplace rife with major competition. The brains behind it are tamping down expectations a bit saying that they do not expect the service to rival Netflix. This is likely a good approach. Because, while nothing Disney does can sneak up on people, if it boasted that it would end Netflix or match their subscribers quickly and did not deliver it would be seen as a loss.
On the other hand, setting more modest expectations and using interest in multiple properties to buoy the service through the startup period should serve it well.
Why would a Disney branded service need any help considering the name brand and the library it can offer? Part of the problem is that the library won’t be a big as some people might expect starting off. There is an expectation that it will host 5,000 episodes of TV shows produced by Disney which should be a nice starting point, but it might be fair to ask if older Disney Channel programming will be heavily in demand. But the first Star Wars movies to find a home on the service will not include any of the original trilogy or its less beloved prequel trilogy for that matter. Even more, no Star Wars movies released before 2019 will be available on the service at launch. So Disney needs to churn out some more hits and avoid more Solo’s. Disney’s Marvel TV shows like The Punisher and Dare Devil will also not be on the service.
If Disney is able to package all of its current non-mature TV properties together in the way Netflix does, for instance, allow all of the past seasons of a show to be available on the service, it could establish a beachhead. The Streaming Advisor suggested earlier that Disney should not launch a separate service in the face of gaining 60% control of Hulu. But it appears Disney wants to keep its lighter content separated from the more mature themed fare it will soon have at its disposal.
The company has already said that Hulu will have more of an adult-centered audience. Hulu, for instance, is going to be home to R rated fare. Looking for Aliens or Deadpool? If it is on a Disney property it will be on Hulu. Same goes for the Simpsons or Family Guy. Though the company has not said so it would not be a surprise to see Disney pulling all of the kids content that it will have the rights to off of Hulu. While there would still be content from other studios in place on Hulu putting its properties in one place would give people more motivation to try it out.