Disney has announced plans to bundle its forthcoming Disney+ streaming service with Hulu and ESPN+ in the United States, for an unbeatable monthly fee.
The trifecta of streaming platforms covers the best of cable TV from Hulu, thousands of hours of live sports from ESPN+ and the crown jewel of original and on-demand and Disney, Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm films and TV shows from Disney+.
The bundle will cost just $12.99 a month, which is the exact same price as a standard Netflix subscription in the United States.
The pricing is going to be a huge incentive for Hulu subscribers who are currently paying upwards of $5.99 a month for ad-based streaming access, while ESPN+ is $4.99. Disney+ is going to be $6.99 when it launches in November, so overall that’s a saving of $4.98 when you bundle-up.
The offer is sure to heap the pressure on Netflix, which last month revealed it had lost 130,000 subscribers in the United States, a drop-off it attributed to a recent price increase.
Netflix is increasingly focused on its original content, and is losing classic programming like The Office and Friends hand-over-fist, because content owners are launching their own portals. All of its Disney-owned content is also departing sooner rather than later, making high-quality archive video very sparse indeed.
Hulu offers the best of network (and some cable) TV in the United States. Netflix gets a little of that after the fact, depending on licensing agreements. Netflix has nothing in the way of live sports and has shown little interest in investing. ESPN+ is an off-shoot from the normal ESPN platforms and carries MLB, MLS, Serie A, FA Cup, EFL and NHL. It also offers Wimbledon tennis, college sports, boxing and UFC Fight Nights.
“The positive response to our direct-to-consumer strategy has been gratifying, and the integration of the businesses we acquired from 21st Century Fox only increases our confidence in our ability to leverage decades of iconic storytelling and the powerful creative engines across the entire company to deliver an extraordinary value proposition to consumers,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said (via The Verge).