Disney, Hulu and Max Streaming Bundle Will Soon Become Available

Media|Disney, Hulu and Max Streaming Bundle Will Soon Become Available

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/05/08/business/media/disney-plus-max-streaming-bundle.html

The offering from Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery shows how rival companies are willing to work together to navigate an uncertain entertainment landscape.

People walking in front of the Magic Kingdom castle at Walt Disney World, with a blue balloon in the shape of mouse ears in the foreground.
Disney announced this week that Disney+ was profitable last quarter, a first.Credit…Todd Anderson for The New York Times

John Koblin

In a rare moment of solidarity, two entertainment giants are teaming up to try to get consumers to stop canceling their streaming services so frequently.

Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery announced on Wednesday that they would start offering a bundle of their Disney+, Hulu and Max streaming services this summer, a sign of how rivals have become more willing to join forces in order to confront an ever-changing media landscape.

The companies said that the bundle would be available to buy on any of the three streaming platform’s websites (Disney owns Disney+ and Hulu; Warner Bros. Discovery owns Max), and that there would be a commercial-free version as well as one featuring ads. The companies did not announce prices or a date when the offering would become available.

The monthly retail price for subscribing to commercial-free versions of all three services is currently $48; the plans with ads cost a combined $25. A bundled offering is likely to cost less.

Media executives have been vexed in recent years as the extremely profitable cable bundle has come undone by cord cutting, and as viewers have rapidly turned to on-demand streaming entertainment. The transition to streaming has been difficult for the companies, which have been bleeding cash.

Disney, for instance, announced this week that Disney+ was profitable last quarter for the first time, though its overall streaming division lost money.

Adding to the uncertainty, consumers have shown a much greater willingness to cull and cut streaming services over the last year or so, further confounding executives who have slashed costs and reduced the number of television shows to get closer to making meaningful profits.

Disney has introduced a bundle for Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+. The company has said it has seen good results from that offering.

Executives have been flirting with the idea of cobbling together a streaming offering across media companies to give consumers less incentive to cancel. The Disney+, Hulu and Max offering is a significant step in that direction.

Joe Earley, the president of Disney Entertainment’s direct-to-consumer division, said in a statement that the “new partnership puts subscribers first.” JB Perrette, the chief executive of Warner Bros. Discovery’s global streaming unit, called it “a powerful new road map for the future of the industry.”

In February, Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery and Fox said they were forming a joint venture to create a streaming service dedicated to their sports offerings. It is expected to debut in the fall.

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