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Shocker! Hulu Drives More Subscriber Growth for Disney Than Disney+

New subscriptions to Hulu have outpaced those of the company’s flagship streaming platform in 18 of the past 24 months


Illuminate IC Staff Writers & WSJ (Subscription)


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The Wall Street Journal ran a great piece this week on the strange dynamic between streamers Hulu and Disney+ that is creating issues for Disney shareholders.


Not many viewer know that the Walt Disney Company has a 67% share in Hulu, while Comcast is the next biggest shareholder with a 33% share. Disney is expected to own the entire stake in Hulu by 2024.


This structure was put in place in 2019 thanks to Disney's $71 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox.


According to WSJ, the upstart Hulu is now making Disney's flagship streamer (Disney+) take a back seat in the corporate structure.


Hulu has emerged as Walt Disney Co.’s fastest-growing U.S. streaming service, just as the company loads up on more adult-focused entertainment in a bid to expand its reach to a wider variety of viewers.


WSJ sites data from the subscriber-measurement firm Antenna to show that new subscriptions to Hulu have outpaced those of Disney’s flagship streaming platform, Disney+, in 18 of the past 24 months, and total new subscriptions to Hulu have exceeded those to Disney+ in each of the last six quarters.


Disney leadership is under pressure from investors to show growth in Disney+ subscriber base. Some analysts and investors have described streaming as a drag on Disney’s share price, which has fallen by nearly 40% this year amid a broader pullback in media stocks.


All of this comes as Disney is in a heated public dispute with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over the state's Parental Rights in Education Act , which barred classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity through third grade, and was denounced by liberal opponents as a "don't say gay" bill.


Following Disney's public vow to repeal the law, DeSantis and the Florida legislature repealed Disney's special self-governance zone in the area encompassing Disney World creating further issue for shareholders.


Here's the article in Monday's WSJ: (subscription required)



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