Disney+ and Hulu combine content into one app

  • By Annabelle Liang & Gemma Dempsey
  • Business Correspondents, BBC News

image source, Marvel Studios

image caption,

Disney has Marvel content like Dr Strange starring Benedict Cumberbatch

Disney has announced plans to combine content from its Disney+ and Hulu streaming services in the US.

The move comes after Disney+ lost four million subscribers in the first three months of the year.

The home of Mickey Mouse, Star Wars and Marvel movies wants to combine Hulu and Disney+ into a “one-app experience.”

Plans for the app have met with a mixed reaction from existing subscribers.

Some have expressed fears on social media that this could lead to oversubscriptions when it goes live later in the year.

However, the company said Disney+ and Hulu and its ESPN+ platform will continue to be available as separate services.

The Disney+ platform took a hit in subscriber numbers after it narrowed its first-quarter loss by $400m (£316.5m).

Shares of the company fell about 5% in after-hours trading in New York.

Most of the subscriber losses came from its Hotstar service in Asia, where it lost streaming rights to Indian cricket matches last year.

Disney+ lost about 300,000 customers in the US and Canada after raising subscription prices.

It comes as Disney’s streaming business narrowed its operating loss to $659m in the first three months of the year. This was up from $1.1 billion in the previous quarter.

image source, Marvel Studios

image caption,

The Black Panther movies are centered around the fictional Kingdom of Wakanda

Earlier this year, the entertainment giant posted its first drop in subscriber numbers and announced plans to cut 7,000 jobs.

The latest announcement comes after thousands of Hollywood TV and film screenwriters staged their first strike in 15 years last week.

As the shift to streaming has upended the traditional TV and film industry, they are calling for better wages and working conditions.

The last writers’ strike was in 2007. It lasted 100 days and cost the industry an estimated $2bn.

On Wednesday, Disney’s Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy declined to release a figure on how much the latest strike is costing the company.

The walkout has already shut down several Disney projects, including those slated to run on Disney+.

Disney has poured billions of dollars into its streaming platforms in recent years, transforming it from a company rooted in traditional TV, movies and theme parks to one of the major players in the streaming industry.

It now has more than 231 million total subscriptions across its three streaming platforms, which also include sports-focused ESPN+ and the broader entertainment platform Hulu.

Disney+ has 158 million subscribers worldwide, though it lags behind rival Netflix’s 232.5 million subscribers.

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