Disney confirms that its upcoming streaming service Disney+ will be ad-free, and also that a bundle package alongside Hulu and ESPN+ is likely. While competition like Amazon Prime, Hulu, and HBO Now has existed for years, Netflix's perch at the top of the subscription streaming game has never really been challenged. Despite criticism for its continued shedding of lots of great licensed movies and TV shows, original programs like Stranger Things, The Crown, and Mindhunter have helped Netflix remain on top of the mountain.
Netflix will soon face its biggest challenger to date in Disney, which has spent the last decade or so gobbling up Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar, and most recently, Fox. Disney is the 800-pound gorilla of the entertainment industry at this point, with its films and TV shows dominating the pop culture landscape. With that in mind, it's no surprise that Disney wants to grab a piece of the streaming pie with Disney+, first announced last year.
At Disney's Investor Day presentation today, the company revealed many things about Disney+, including a November 12, 2019 North American launch date, a monthly price point of $6.99, and a variety of movies and shows set to be available at launch or soon after. Another couple of info bits to come out of the presentation include that Disney+ content will be presented ad-free, and that a discounted bundle package of consisting of Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ will also likely be offered to interested consumers.
It's unclear at present what a hypothetical Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ bundle package will cost, although it'll for sure be less than subscribing to the three services individually. It'll be interesting to see if Hulu's standard ad-supported plan is what's offered as part of the bundle, or Disney instead provides access to its more expensive ad-free variant. One also wonders if Disney will give consumers the option of just bundling Disney+ with Hulu, and not bothering with ESPN+. After all, while basically everyone likes some type of movies or TV shows, there are many people who just plain don't watch sports.
Based on the shows and movies talked up during today's presentation, it seems that Disney intends to stick to its previously teased plan of keeping Disney+ content family friendly. This means anything rated higher than a PG-13 or TV-PG will likely be sent off to Hulu, which Disney now owns 60% of after its Fox purchase. If that's the way things shake out, Hulu may well be an essential companion piece to one's Disney+ subscription. With many people already feeling like there are too many streaming services though, the market may eventually hit its breaking point.