TV & Video Week in Review

Report Type: 
Week In Review

Hulu on Disney+ evolves out of beta phase.

As of March 27th, Hulu on Disney+ has dropped its beta status and transitioned to its fully formed evolution. Some lighter changes include Hulu gaining its own tile on Disney+, a new sound signature crafted by Oscar-winning composer LudwigGöransson (Oppenheimer), Hulu-inclusive search results, and even a new logo whose color resembles a rough blend of the former Disney+ blue and the Hulu green (called Aurora for the trivia buffs out there.) Content-wise, over 70,000 titles have been converted from Hulu to Disney+, a change that may seem mundane at first, but represents a substantial technical lift on the part of Disney. It turns out that legacy Hulu’s asset categorizations are far less robust than the newer Disney+ architecture. So, the Disney executives in charge of the transition saw fit to upgrade and enhance those legacy Hulu assets for all migrated content, representing over 100,000 unique assets including video formats, key art, and metadata. Some underlying architecture enhancement still remains, and not all content has made the jump (mostly due to pre-existing licensing rights), but most of the conversion is complete. The goal of unifying all content under the more robust Disney+ standards is to streamline the user experience, increasing engagement and reducing churn, while also creating a better data picture of each customer. This should lead to an improved recommendation algorithm on the content side and could even involve future integrations across other Disney assets (including Disney purchases or even sports integrations through ESPN assets).

The Circana Take:

  • The beta phase was a resounding success, leading to better engagement and broader catalog reach across both Disney+ and Hulu. This should lead to reduced churn, and ultimately, subscriber growth. Expect short-term cannibalization to stabilize in the coming one to two quarters, leading to year over year growth in total net subscribers by year’s end.
  • Longer term, the effort to upgrade and synchronize the entire content library across Hulu and Disney+ cannot be overstated. It’s a huge lift to have achieved in a single quarter’s time. And, while the benefits may not be apparent for months or years to come, the ability to set a foundation for a more streamlined consumer experience while also developing a better, more complete picture of each consumer will reap rewards in future years.