Disney released their paid subscription numbers on Tuesday, and revealed over 3 million subscribers are in the fold for Hulu + Live TV. If this doesn’t signal doom for pay TV, what does?
Consider the numbers, courtesy of Axios media reporter Sara Fischer:
The Mouse House is extremely influential in entertainment already. Now, with the launch of Disney+, Hulu + Live TV’s milestone and ESPN+’s exponential growth, Disney’s on the front lines of the Streaming Wars.
Hulu enhances brand & live TV under Disney
It’s only been since May 2019 that Disney assumed full control of Hulu after a deal with Comcast. As data shows, Hulu grew its Live TV subscribers by 88 percent.
That’s quite a big leap to make in only one year’s time. While it’s not a surprise Disney had a considerable influence on the brand, it bodes well for Hulu’s future overall.
No one can deny Hulu’s increased marketing presence since the Disney acquisition. So many sports superstars have helped push the service as the premier cord-cutting destination for live sports.
The latest high-profile athlete to do this was New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during an indubitably pricey Super Bowl 54 TV spot.
Tying in speculation about Brady’s future to a mass marketing ploy is genius. Although Hulu + Live TV experienced unfortunate outages leading up to Super Bowl Sunday kickoff, the brand is approaching too-big-to-fail status.
In other words, it should be a short-term setback in an otherwise, obviously positive growth trend.
And Hulu’s progress wasn’t only limited to Live TV subscribers. Its SVOD exclusive pool increased 29 percent from the previous year.
This is only the beginning…
Brady himself declares in the Hulu ad that TV as we know it, a la pay TV, is coming to an end.
Disney’s backing is key here. It was only in November that Disney+ launched, and that had its own bugs out of the gate. The Super Bowl provided Hulu + Live TV with adversity, much to subscribers’ chagrin.
But given the amount of resources at Disney’s disposal and its still relative streaming inexperience, services are only going to improve. Those who board the Hulu bandwagon now are really getting ahead of the cord-cutting curve.
Hulu’s SVOD already has a bundle deal with Disney+ and ESPN+. As can be seen from the subscriber stats, ESPN+ experienced a massive bump in only one year — like a 470% bump.
It’s easy to envision a world where bundles are more commonplace to make cord-cutting and streaming more streamlined and convenient.
ESPN+ could well become part of the Hulu + Live TV, whose current ad-free price of $60.99 per month without ads is a bargain compared to pay TV and some of those pesky hidden fees that inflate the bills.
Meanwhile, YouTube TV, while a legitimate competitor, is currently at around 2 million subscribers. The powers that be at Google have some serious ground to make up with Hulu + Live TV and Disney leading the way.