As part of its push toward streaming profitability, Disney announced that content from Hulu would be made available on Disney+ to subscribers of both services in the United States. Mr. Iger said this “one app experience” would roll out by the end of the year. Hulu, which does not operate overseas, will also continue as a stand-alone product.
Disney+ content is primarily aimed at children and families. The addition of more generalized Hulu content would “increase engagement and increase our opportunity in terms of serving digital ads — growing our advertising business,” Mr. Iger said.
Disney said it would raise the price for ad-free subscriptions to Disney+ later this year, in part to push more viewers toward cheaper subscriptions that allow for advertising (which, in turn, would allow Disney to increase advertising rates). Disney most recently raised the ad-free price in December: Those subscriptions now cost $11, up 38 percent from what Disney previously charged. The option with advertising costs $8.
Disney owns 67 percent of Hulu, with Comcast holding the balance. Under a 2019 agreement, Disney has an upcoming opportunity to buy out Comcast. (Estimates start in the $9 billion range.) Mr. Iger indicated on Wednesday that Disney would like to make that deal.
“We’ve had some conversations with them already,” he said. “I can’t really say where they end up.” Mr. Iger notably started the conference call by congratulating Comcast, an archrival, on the success of its animated “Super Mario Bros. Movie,” which has collected $1.2 billion worldwide.