Disney has decided kill off the “FX on Hulu” name less than two years after it launched — a piece of brand-management microsurgery many people probably won’t even notice.
At the same time, the FX mark will move above the titles on all of its shows across Disney’s streaming services worldwide.
The “FX on Hulu” moniker always seemed redundant and confusing. Introduced in early 2020, it was supposed to highlight Hulu as the U.S. streaming home for FX content, as well as the place to find Hulu-only originals from FX like “Mrs. America” and “A Teacher.”
But now Disney wants to make FX branding consistent worldwide across the Mouse House’s direct-to-consumer and linear TV services, including Hulu and the FX and FXX linear channels in the U.S., Star Plus in Latin America, and Disney Plus in all other territories.
“FX’s award-winning adult programming is vital to our services both domestically and internationally and we want to shine a brighter light on the brand within our excellent and rapidly growing portfolio of general entertainment programming for adult audiences,” Rebecca Campbell, Disney’s chairman, international and direct-to-consumer, said in announcing the change.
Starting this month, “FX on Hulu” branding on will be phased out. Hulu subscribers will now find FX programming, including day-after-air shows from FX linear channels and exclusive original programming from FX, in the new “FX” hub.
Disney’s elimination of the “FX on Hulu” branding underscores the challenges of giving a streaming-era makeover to legacy TV brands. Recall the tangle of confusing brand extensions HBO endured over the years, which WarnerMedia has finally cleaned up with HBO Max.
In January 2020, FX chairman John Landgraf had said “the brand hit a ceiling” on basic cable and touted the “FX on Hulu” strategy as giving it entrée to Hulu’s millions of subscribers. “I think it’s going to make the FX brand actually more valuable really, because I think it’s going to penetrate more deeply into American culture,” he said at the time. On Hulu, since the FX hub launched in early 2020, users have watched more than 1 billion hours of FX programming on the streamer, according to Disney.
According to Landgraf, the end of the “FX on Hulu” name and the move to prominently label FX shows worldwide with the FX logo “furthers the natural evolution” away from its roots as a cable TV network and toward a “branded mark of quality.”
“We are confident that the FX brand, wherever the consumer finds it, will continue to deliver the highest-quality programs any service has to offer,” Landgraf said in a statement.
In 2022, FX plans to double its programming output, aiming to produce 30 shows (25 scripted and five unscripted). In addition to producing shows through its FX Productions (FXP) arm, FX will increase its collaboration with Disney Television Studios-20th Television, ABC Signature, the Onyx Collective and Searchlight.
Currently, the FX library comprises more than 170 seasons and 1,800 episodes of TV shows. FX is a division of Disney General Entertainment, led by chairman Peter Rice, which creates original entertainment and news programming for Disney’s streaming platforms and cable and broadcast networks.