×

Disney to Offer Streaming Bundle of Disney Plus, ESPN Plus and Hulu for $12.99

Disney disclosed Tuesday that it will offer a streaming bundle of Disney Plus, ESPN Plus and the advertising-supported version of Hulu for $12.99 a month.

The bundle of Disney direct-to-consumer properties will be available for purchase on Nov. 12, the day that the ambitious Disney Plus service is set to bow in the U.S.

Disney chief Bob Iger revealed the plan for the bundle during Disney’s quarterly earnings call with Wall Street analysts. Disney’s fiscal second quarter numbers came in below expectations, a shortfall Disney chalked up to lower than expected performances by key divisions of 21st Century Fox, which Disney formally acquired in March.

“Nothing is more important to us than getting this right,” Iger said of Disney’s aggressive move into direct-to-consumer streaming.

Iger also disclosed that Disney is in talks with Apple, Amazon and Google to distribute Disney Plus and presumably the newly disclosed bundle on their platforms. “We think it’s important to achieve scale relatively quickly and they’ll be an important part of that.”

Iger said consumer marketing for Disney Plus will start to emerge later this month. On the tech side, the Disney Plus team is devoting considerable energy to making it easy for prospective subscribers to sign up. “We know how important it is to create a friction-less experience,” he said.

Disney’s investment in its budding streaming services is only growing. Disney chief financial officer Christine McCarthy told analysts that the company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International divisions are projecting an operating loss of $900 million in the fiscal fourth quarter, up from $553 million loss in Q3 and up from a loss of about $370 million in fiscal Q4 2018.

The Hulu venture is now entirely on Disney’s books, which contributed to Disney’s widening loss in Direct to Consumer and International. Iger said Hulu’s subscriber base stands at 28 million. The Hulu Live digital MVPD service grew faster than any of its digital rivals in the quarter, McCarthy said.

In discussing the Q3 results, Iger emphasized the complexity of the 21st Century Fox integration and the need to invest as Disney makes significant shifts in its business priorities as it bets on streaming as the future of content distribution. Despite disappointing numbers from 21st Century Fox legacy units, including the Star TV satellite platform in India, Iger stressed that the company remains bullish on the $71.3 billion Fox deal.

“Our appreciation of the long-term value that we can create has increased,” Iger said.

Disney Plus will launch with more than 300 movie titles on day one, growing to 400 by the end of its first year. The tall includes eight “Star Wars” pics, four from Marvel plus eight more by the end of year one, 18 Pixar-produced features, 70 from the Disney animation vault and some 7,500 episodes of television. Iger said the Disney Plus originals are coming in strong. He’s watched the first season of “The Mandalorian,” the “Star Wars”-themed live-action series.

“I’ve been really impressed with the quality and the variety and the volume” of original production for Disney Plus, Iger said.

Iger also emphasized Disney’s flexibility with the content it creates. The FX team may produce an original series for Hulu that will have a second window down the road on FX.

Iger acknowledged that the company faces a “balancing act” in the near term as it weighs how much to invest in its new direct-to-consumer businesses and how much it needs to maintain its traditional linear TV operations including ABC, Freeform and FX.

“It is important for us to continue to fuel those channels with enough quality and original programming to support these businesses as they exist today,” Iger said. At the same time, “the pivot to direct to consumer businesses is designed not only to address the opportunity that exists in that space but also address the challenges that exist on the traditional side.”

Iger added that Disney is in the midst of “setting ourselves up in a way to be more resilient than any of our competitors should the traditional side erode so significantly that it is not as viable as it was.”

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • Ann Sarnoff Warner Bros

    Ann Sarnoff Formally Takes Reins of Warner Bros. as CEO

    The Ann Sarnoff era at Warner Bros. has begun. Sarnoff formally took the reins as Warner Bros. chair-CEO on Thursday, two months after she was appointed to the post. Sarnoff told employees in a memo that she has been impressed by the company’s track record during the past year amid a period of upheaval for [...]

  • Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein (L)

    Harvey Weinstein to Be Arraigned on New Indictment

    Harvey Weinstein is set to appear in court on Monday for an arraignment on a new indictment, the Manhattan D.A.’s office said Thursday. Prosecutors announced last week that they would seek a fresh indictment, which would allow actress Annabella Sciorra to testify at Weinstein’s trial. The move came after Justice James Burke ruled on Aug. [...]

  • AI Technology David Beckham

    How AI Tech Is Changing Dubbing, Making Stars Like David Beckham Multilingual

    David Beckham does not speak Arabic, Hindi or Mandarin. But when the soccer legend starred in a PSA for malaria awareness this spring, he effortlessly switched among these and six other languages, thanks to cutting-edge technology that could soon change how Hollywood localizes its movies and TV shows. The PSA in question was produced with technology [...]

  • Eminem’s Publisher Sues Spotify, Claiming Copyright

    Eminem’s Publisher Sues Spotify, Claiming Massive Copyright Infringement

    Eminem’s publishing company Eight Mile Style filed a major copyright infringement lawsuit against Spotify late Thursday, claiming that the streaming giant has no license to host about 250 of Eminem’s songs, while also taking aim at the Music Modernization Act, the federal law enacted last year to improve royalty payments for songwriters. The news was [...]

  • iQIYI headquarters building in Beijing

    China’s iQIYI in Talks for Indonesia Expansion

    Chinese streaming firm iQIYI is in negotiations to expand further into Southeast Asia through a venture with Indonesia’s Media Nusantara Citra. iQIYI announced its first step outside Chinese-majority territories in June, when it revealed a linkup in Malaysia with pay-TV leader Astro. It also operates in Taiwan. In April, the company said that it planned [...]

  • Spotify logo is presented on a

    Spotify Triples Free-Trial Period on Premium Service

    Spotify today extended the free-trial period for its Premium service from one month to three, tripling the amount of time listeners can take full advantage of the streaming giant’s offerings without paying for them. According to the announcement, the offer is “always-on/not limited time,” and will roll out across Spotify Premium plans globally: Individual and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content