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What the Disney + bundle means to Hulu with Live TV



Disney CEO doesn't have to say much to say much. He we only a few minutes into the company's revenues for the third quarter when he dropped a bit of a bombshell. Maybe surprising, but a bombshell anyway.

Disney + will be joined by the ESPN + streaming arm of the anonymous sports network – and Hulu – which continues to grow with great leaps – for a very reasonable price.

Or, as Iger put it:

"In the US, consumers will be able to subscribe to a package with Disney +, ESPN +, and add supported Hulu for $ 1

2.99 a month. The bundle will be available on our launch date of 12. November [19659005] It's good and good. It's actually just good and good. It's damn good. Great, even. For just $ 2 more than you get ESPN + and Hulu separately, you get everything Disney + has to offer … It's, erm, Disney, it's Marvel, it's Star Wars, it's all the new programs and movies all of these features create, it's all the old stuff.

There's a lot of content for not so much money.

But a pretty big question was a long one In a world where we have a lot of pretty good live TV services to choose from – they are called MVPDs, in the industry, for multichannel video programming distributor – Hulu With Live TV Get Something of Disney + Love?

Or to put it another way: Will there be any kind of live TV package discount with Disney +?

Iger, who does what CEOs do perhaps better than anything else, answered the question without answering the question. It's about "supporting businesses as they exist today," he said. They want to make sure that the "traditional" and "non-traditional" sides of the video store "can be resilient."

Disney's CEO was mum about all kinds of price breaks on live TV along with Disney +.

also sounded a bit like they might not want to rock the boat any harder than they already have. In fact, he called out a competitor by name.

"On the Hulu Live front, Iger said," we felt it was important to do what we can to grow digital MVPD businesses. We obviously know that others in the room have been good partners for us.

"YouTube will be one to mention."

It's interesting for a couple of reasons. The first is that both Hulu and YouTube have broadcast TV services live. (I actually use the latter with the family at home as our main source of live "linear" viewing at home.) The second is that YouTube also doubles – as so many Google efforts usually do – with its own original content. It certainly has nowhere near what you would call must-watch TV – no The Handmaid's Tale as on Hulu, or Stranger Things on Netflix. But it's tried. It's dipped.

That does not necessarily mean that Hulu has been free. Christine McCarthy, a Disney CEO and CFO, did not let the issue die without boasting just a little:

"And one more thing on Hulu Live," she added. "The digital platform grew the most by all DMVPDs this quarter."

Here is the full exchange from the earnings call:

BOB IGER: We are negotiating with a number of MVPDs right now to expand our linear – or as you call them – television channels, and these are still important deals for us and important businesses for us as well. And that obviously includes ABC and Disney Channel. … So it's important for us to continue operating these channels with enough quality, with enough original programming, to support businesses as they exist today.

We also know that if you look at all the disruptions in our business, the business that will be most affected is the live, multi-channel TV product. And so the transformation of the business directly to the consumer is designed not only to address the opportunity that exists in that space, but to meet the challenge that exists on the traditional side of the business. Which means we have our own balance sheet when it comes to fuel for both sides – the traditional side and the new side, or the direct consumer business – with enough quality product to succeed in both places.

Obviously what we also do is set ourselves up in a way that we can be resilient – probably more resilient than any of our competitors – if the traditional side is eroded so significantly that it is not as viable as it has been as a business. And it will allow us to swing pretty quickly, by moving even more product from the traditional channels to the non-traditional channels.

So it's a balancing act, we think we're making enough quality product for both sides right now to feel safe on both sides of the business.

The windowing strategy is actually that we take a lot of product we make for the traditional channels and eventually move it to the non-traditional. But we also make original product for the new channels – Disney + and Hulu – which will not go back to the other channels, although in some cases it may be.

On the Hulu Live front, we felt it was important to do what we can to grow digital MVPD businesses. We obviously know that others in the room have been good partners for us. YouTube may be worth mentioning.

We like that Hulu is out there with a product that is very unique in that it gives subscribers an opportunity to buy linear television – digital over-the-top linear television – to buy network programming, because we know that the content licensing agreements they have with the network – and to buy original programming. And that combination of all three puts Hulu in a very unique place in that no one out there offers an extensive television offering like Hulu is.

Added Christine McCarthy, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer:

And one more thing on Hulu Live – the digital platform grew the most by DMVPD this quarter.


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