Will a combined Hulu and Disney+ app solve the declining userbase issue for the company?

Disney's move to merge Disney+ and Hulu aims to increase engagement, lower churn, and streamline its streaming services. Yet, challenges and risks persist.

By Abhishek Chandel
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Will a combined Hulu and Disney+ app solve the declining userbase issue for the company?

Will a combined Hulu and Disney+ app solve the declining userbase issue for the company?

Disney made waves last year when it announced massive subscriber losses for its flagship streaming service Disney+. The service lost 4 million subscribers in Q1 2022, mainly driven by the loss of cricket rights for its Hotstar service in Asia. But even in the US and Canada, Disney+ shed 300,000 subscribers after a price increase.

In response, Disney has now announced plans to combine content from its Disney+ and Hulu streaming services into one "unified" app experience. This new app will launch in beta in December 2023 for current bundle subscribers, with a full rollout expected in early 2024.

But will this solve Disney's declining subscriber woes? Let's take a closer look.

Disney's Streaming Decline

Disney's streaming division remains unprofitable, posting losses of $387 million last quarter. While an improvement from previous quarters, it highlights the challenges Disney faces in turning its streaming business into a moneymaker.

The company still plans to crack down on password sharing, but this isn't expected to have a major impact until 2025 (The Verge). So in the near term, Disney needs to find new ways to attract and retain streaming subscribers.

Potential Benefits of a Combined App

Consolidating Hulu and Disney+ into one app offers some potential upsides for Disney:

  • Increased engagement and lower churn by having more content in one place

  • Access to Hulu's general entertainment for Disney+ bundle subscribers

  • Lower customer acquisition costs with one unified streaming app

  • Full ownership and control of Hulu after buying out Comcast's stake

"There seems to be real value in having general entertainment combined with Disney+," said CEO Bob Iger about the move (BBC).

Credit: Forbes

Potential Drawbacks

However, there are also risks to the combined app approach:

  • Possibility of higher subscription fees turning off price-sensitive consumers

  • Technological complexity of integrating two different apps

  • Could dilute the Disney+ brand identity

  • Doesn't address underlying business model challenges


The combined Disney+ and Hulu app offers potential benefits but also has inherent risks. It is not likely to be a magic bullet that instantly solves Disney's declining subscriber counts. The company will still need to address issues around content, pricing, and overall streaming profitability.

However, consolidating Hulu into Disney+ is an important move to unite Disney's streaming services under one roof. It remains to be seen whether this will be enough to turn around the recent subscriber losses. But it provides an opportunity to leverage Disney's full content library into one centralized user experience.

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