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Report: Disney Bundle Drives Only Moderate Cross-Service Traffic; Will Ad-Supported Disney+ Help?

David Satin

The release of the Disney Bundle that accompanied the 2019 launch of Disney+ was thought to be a game-changer when it first hit the market. Three services for what was essentially the price of one was an excellent deal, and it was thought that the rising tide would lift the boats of all services involved; Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+.

Three years in, however, the results have been decidedly more mixed than was anticipated at launch. According to data from MoffettNathanson and HarrisX, only half of users who primarily watch Hulu say that they also watch Disney+. Cross-platform usage rises slightly among customers who say that they primarily watch Disney+, but plummets among respondents who categorize themselves as primarily ESPN+ users.

Disney’s services boast impressive total numbers, with Disney+ reporting 137.7 million global users and Hulu adding another 46.2 million. In addition to Disney’s general entertainment streamers, ESPN+ grew 53% in the last year to rise to 22.8 million subscribers as of the third quarter of 2022. The combined subscription totals add up to north of 221 million customers.

Given those numbers, Disney can actually boast more combined global subscribers than Netflix’s 220.67 customers. Of course, Disney’s numbers do not adjust for subscriber overlap brought on by the Bundle. So, while the unique customer total is still considerably behind that of its largest streaming competitor, it’s certain that the company would like cross-service use to be much higher than it currently is.

That holds especially true because of the fact that the Disney Bundle still significantly lags behind Netflix in terms of minutes streamed as well. The combined libraries of Disney+ and Hulu only account for 67% of the total minutes that consumers streamed on Netflix during Q3 of this year. Despite surpassing Netflix's subscriber total Disney can’t match Netflix in terms of demand.

So what can Disney do to encourage more subscribers to get the most out of the full bundle? For starters, it could better integrate its services. Making the Hulu library available via a tile on Disney+ instead of forcing customers to navigate to a new site would be a big step in the right direction. Disney CEO Bob Chapek has stated that he’d prefer to merge Hulu and Disney+ into one service, but the company has to sort out a messy arrangement over the rights to Hulu with Comcast first.

Another change that may drive customers to increase their cross-traffic usage is the upcoming introduction of a lower-cost ad-supported tier of Disney+, which is coming Dec. 8. The lower cost of Disney+ may induce more Hulu users to give it a try.

In addition, 30% of current Disney+ users say they plan to switch over to the new tier when it is released, according to TiVo. Those customers may find the Disney Bundle more attractive, and justifiable from a budgetary standpoint with a lower-cost Disney+ attached. The ad-supported Disney bundle will cost $12.99 per month when it launches in December, a savings of 52% over what the services would cost separately.

The Disney Bundle is a powerful price-saving tool for customers, and will continue to be so. But it hasn’t driven the cross-service traffic that Disney would like yet, and if combining Disney+ with Hulu or introducing a lower price tier doesn’t increase those numbers, expect the House of Mouse to get more creative to bump traffic up across its streaming platforms.

  • Disney+

    Disney+ is a video streaming service with over 13,000 series and films from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, The Muppets, and more. It is available in 61 countries and 21 languages. It is notable for its popular original series like “The Mandalorian,” “Ms. Marvel,” “Loki,” “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” and “Andor.”

    Disney+ has two plans – one with ads and one without ads. Disney+ Basic with Ads costs $7.99 / month. If you don’t want ads, you can choose Disney+ Premium with No Ads which costs $10.99 / month.

    The Premium plan also offers an annual option for $109.99 / year ($9.17/mo.).

    If you want all of Disney streaming services, they have two options for The Disney Bundle. The Disney Bundle Basic includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ (with Ads) for $7.99 / month. The Disney Bundle Premium (without Ads) for $19.99 / month.

    The app supports unlimited downloads (on their Premium Plans), four simultaneous streamers, up to 7 profiles, 4K streaming, and includes hundreds of avatars.

    The service includes 25+ original series, 10+ original movies, 7,500 past episodes, 100 recent movies, and 400 library titles including the entire Disney Vault.

    You can see the full list of available Disney, Disney Channel, Star Wars, Pixar, Marvel, Nat Geo shows and movies, or all available Disney+ content by checking out our Disney+ Streaming Movie List.

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    Get Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ for just $12.99 a month ($13 savings).

  • Hulu

    Hulu is a video streaming service that gives access to thousands of full seasons of exclusive series, hit movies, kids shows, and Hulu Originals like “Only Murders in the Building,” and “The Handmaid's Tale.”

    It offers a good selection of current TV shows and its ad-supported tier is cheaper than both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. You will be able to watch most shows from networks like ABC and Fox, and cable channels like FXX, FXM, HGTV, and more.

    The service has a Limited Commercials plan for $7.99 a month, or you can upgrade to their No Ads plan for $14.99 a month. For $69.99 a month, you can get Hulu Live TV from major cable channels, live locals and regional sports networks.

  • ESPN+

    ESPN+ is a live TV streaming service that gives access to thousands of live sporting events, original shows like Peyton’s Place, the entire library of 30 for 30, E:60, The Last Dance, as well exclusive written analysis from top ESPN insiders.

    The service can be subscribed for $9.99 / month per month or annually for $99.99 / year.

    You will get a daily out-of-market game from MLB, and every out-of-market NHL with NHL Power Play (previously NHL.TV). For NFL Fans, they have an exclusive NFL game, and simulcast select Monday Football games.

    The service has some of the most attractive soccer coverage including Bundesliga, LaLiga, FA Cup, UEFA Nations League, EFL Championship, EFL Carabao Cup, Eredevise and more.

    College sports fans will be able to watch thousands of games and events including football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, track & field, gymnastics, swimming & diving, lacrosse, wrestling, volleyball, golf, and more.

    For boxing and UFC fans, the service offers Top Rank boxing and will be the home of 15 exclusive UFC events.

    ESPN+ now includes exclusive insights from analysts like Mel Kiper and Todd McShay (which used to be part of ESPN Insider), as well as premium Fantasy Tools & PickCenter.

    What it does not include is most live sports that air on ESPN and ESPN2.

    To get access to those channels you have to subscribe to a live TV streaming service. We suggest reading our guide on How to Watch ESPN without Cable.


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