To kick off its Investor Day presentation this afternoon, Disney laid out its direct-to-consumer strategy, going over the many assets that put the company in a strong position as it prepares for a major face-off with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and other video streaming services. Kevin Mayer, chairman of Disney’s direct-to-consumer division, didn’t waste time stating the obvious: Disney will “likely” sell its standalone, paid subscription services — Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu — as a bundle for an appealing price. (Disney took a controlling stake in Hulu with the completion of its acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets.)
Mayer said Disney “will likely bundle at a discounted price to offer more value for consumers.” Hulu’s monthly subscription recently dropped to a starting price of $5.99. It also offers an $11.99 “no commercials” plan and Hulu with Live TV, which is $40 / month. ESPN+ costs $4.99 per month or $49.99 annually. The big open question is how much Disney+ will be; that’s definitely something we’re hoping to learn as today’s event continues on.
Tying all of these things together is an obvious move as Disney wants to make things easier for consumers. Executives at ESPN have previously hinted that a bundle could be in the cards.
Pairing its services together will create a formidable challenge to Netflix, yes, but could also eat into the cable industry and internet TV services like Sling TV and YouTube TV. It’s likely that some consumers won’t need a traditional cable package if they’ve got on-demand TV episodes, sports programming, and Disney’s vault of classics and Marvel films in one bundle for a single, straightforward price.