Cable TV 2.0? Max, Hulu and Disney+ to launch as streaming bundle this summer

New bundle announced after months of ‘streaming wars’

Mike Bedigan,Michelle Del Rey
Thursday 09 May 2024 18:33 BST
Disney CEO Bob Iger to step down immediately

A new streaming bundle made up of Disney+, Hulu and Max is coming to the US market.

The offering, harking back to a traditional cable TV package, will be available from this summer, parent companies Disney, Warner Bros and Discovery announced on Wednesday.

The bundle will include content from ABC, CNN, Food Network, Discovery, FX, HBO, HGTV, and have both ad-supported and ad-free options.

Pricing for the new bundle has not yet been released however the option will be discounted, a source told CNBC.

Hulu’s cheapest plan is currently $7.99 a month; Max is $9.99 a month; and Disney+ is $8. With no ads, Hulu is $17.99; Max is $19.99; and Disney is $13.99 a month.

Other streaming platforms have already rolled out bundle options. Hulu currently offers a package that combines its streaming service with Disney+ and ESPN.

According to CNBC, Disney will be the distributor for the new product. The company will collect subscription fees and pay oa percentage to Warner Bro. and Discovery.

According to Reelgood, which aggregates data from streaming platforms, there are nearly 40,000 TV shows and films to choose from across the eight largest streamers
According to Reelgood, which aggregates data from streaming platforms, there are nearly 40,000 TV shows and films to choose from across the eight largest streamers (iStock/ Getty Images)

“This new offering delivers for consumers the greatest collection of entertainment for the best value in streaming, and will help drive incremental subscribers and much stronger retention,” JB Perrette, CEO and president of Global Streaming and Games at Warner Bros Discovery said, in a statement.

The announcement of the Disney+, Hulu and Max bundle is the latest salvo in the ongoing “streaming wars” among Apple, Amazon, Peacock, Paramount, Netflix and a host of others.

Reelgood, which aggregates streaming data, reports that there are nearly 40,000 TV shows and films to choose from across the eight largest platforms.

Subscriptions to streaming services cost the average US consumer nearly $1,000 per year, according to online platform Bango. Combined with internet fees, this is more than the average cable TV plan.

The average cable plan costs $83 per month, working out at $996 annually, according to figures reported by The Financial Times.

Roughly three-quarters of those surveyed said they would prefer a single content hub to bundle together all subscriptions.

“As the war for new sign ups has grown fiercer, so too has the drive towards monetising each subscriber as effectively as possible,” the report noted. “Most recently, subscription services have achieved this through increased fees, and crackdowns on password sharing.”

Last month, Disney announced that it would be cracking down on password sharing, in an attempt to force people to get their own accounts. It followed similar action taken by Netflix who introduced automated services to spot when multiple people and households are using one account. Disney+ still allows multiple profiles in one home.

Netflix attributed a recent jump in subscribers to its crackdown on password sharing. The company reported a major spike in new users signing up for the service and has seen revenues rise since introducing the measures.

Netflix’s success was highlighted by Disney CEO Bob Iger when he announced that Disney+ would also be cracking down on account sharing.

“Netflix is the gold standard in streaming,” Mr Iger said. “They’ve done a phenomenal job and a lot of different directions. I actually have very, very high regard for what they’ve accomplished. If we can only accomplish what they’ve accomplished, that would be great.”

Mr Perrette also indicated in March that Max would begin a similar crackdown on password sharing outside of a household.

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