Disney+ step into the streaming game has been major with how they’ve steamroller themselves being a major competitor to Netflix. With all these, 2022 came with a lot of hurdles for the streamer. It experienced a lot of major changes including launching its ad-supported tier.
“Disney+ Basic” is the streamers’ ad tier launched last year. These are part of the company’s effort to grow subscribers. It has a subscriber count of 164.2 million globally in Q4 in 2022. The streamer is pushing the goal of 230 – 260 million subscribers by 2024. One of the biggest wrenches in Disney+ Basic is that is not available on Roku devices something I’m sure will get rectified by the streamer at least this who knows, they are yet to disclose any information with respect to that. Along with the ad-free plan, the streamer has introduced changes to its bundle as well as a hike to its ad-free plan.
There were a couple of pitfalls for the streamer. In Q4 2022, the company lost $1.5 billion in revenue in its direct-to-consumer division. This has a lot of consequences with Bob Chapek stepping down as CEO with Bob Iger back in the seat after leaving in 2021. Disney+ is planning to expand to 30 additional countries after launching in 42 countries and 11 territories.
With content, there are the usual offerings with the biggest splash coming from Marvel with Secret Wars starring Samuel L. Jackson set to be released in the early stage of the year. That will not be Marvel’s only offering with Star Wars contributing with the hit show The Mandalorian returning for its 3rd season. There is a couple of documentaries coming through on National Geographic with “Secrets of the Elephants” executive produced by James Cameron. There will be new offerings from Pixar and other brands under the Disney umbrella.
Things are a little quiet on the Disney adjacent streamer, Hulu. There are the usual price hikes that go across all streamers. Hulu has also been losing titles to competitor Peacock and they managed to reach a milestone of getting 58 Emmy nominations in the recent award season.
There is also the Disney/Comcast spectacle over the ownership of Hulu. With Fox’s acquisition, Disney owns 2/3 of the streamer with the remaining over to Comcast. There has been news in the trades with Disney looking to buy Comcast out of Hulu. This was alluded to when Chapek was still in charge of Disney as something o the cards and a hint of a possible agreement to be reached in 2023 or 2024. If the acquisition goes through there is a possible merger on the cards for Hulu into Disney+ and ESPN+, something that will be very appealing to the consumer.
In conclusion, the significant feature coming to the streamer is the exclusive shopping experience. This is currently in the testing stages. The online shop will give viewers the option to buy merchandise from Disney-owned brands like Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar and Disney Animations, and others.