The Walt Disney Company is reportedly exploring the idea of a "hard bundle" option for its two streaming services, Disney+ and Hulu. The company's current "soft bundle" option is confusing and many users don't bother with it at all. In a new interview with The Los Angeles Times, CEO Bob Chapek said that he is hoping to switch things up in the next few years as the company's ownership of Hulu changes.
Disney currently co-owns Hulu with Comcast, which restricts its ability to integrate Hulu with other streamer offers, alter its branding or make other massive changes. Right now, Disney has plans to purchase Comcast's stake in Hulu in 2024, but the two companies can't seem to agree on what it is worth. Assuming that deal goes through, Chapek hinted that Hulu and Disney+ could both be changed to complement each other. A "hard bundle" was just one of the options he considered.
According to Chapek, this would essentially mean that consumers would have an option to purchase both Hulu and Disney+ together as one app with one subscription price – presumably lower than the price of both services separately. He said that he wouldn't go into too much detail unless the deal with Comcast went through and that it would be tested and tweaked based on audience responses.
"The consumer essentially dictates everything," the CEO said. He added that he believes viewers want "a frictionless experience" more than anything and that a "hard bundle" would achieve this better than the current "soft bundle."
Right now, users have many options for buying Disney-owned streaming services at a wholesale price. You can lump together Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN+, toggling ad-free options for each as well as Hulu's more expensive Hulu + Live TV options. Disney has recently launched an ad campaign to try and explain these options, but some commenters seem to be more confused than ever.
Disney already has offerings in other countries that may foreshadow what's coming for these bundle deals. In Europe, Disney+ simply hosts all of the newer content that we watch on Hulu here in the U.S., such as The Bear and The Handmaiden's Tale. Watching the performance of that service as well as the upcoming merger of HBO Max and Discovery+. In the meantime, you can subscribe to Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ together for at least a couple more years.