Open Letter to Disney: It’s Time to Drop Hulu and Acquire Netflix and Roblox
In this blog, we frequently talk about the subscription economy and growth/traction of streaming services. That leads me to this…
Dear Mickey / Disney,
It’s time to take a big step. It’s time to acquire Netflix and Roblox, and if you have to, sell Hulu.
I’m suggesting that there is a massive opportunity for Disney to establish an even bigger global footprint, which comes just as streaming platforms are being forced to make some significant changes.
While Disney hoped to achieve better earnings for the second quarter of 2022, Disney+ surpassed expectations. The company reported adjusted revenues of $19.25 billion, lower than the expected $20 billion. On the other hand, Disney+ added a whopping 7.9 million subscribers to bring its total to 137.7 million, surpassing analyst estimates by around 2.7 million subscribers.
Before we can explore the benefits of such an acquisition, we first must talk about Disney’s potential baggage holding the company back: Hulu.
Is Hulu Baggage for Disney?
An increasing number of investors are calling on Disney to drop Hulu and make a new acquisition, and the argument for such a scenario is strong. Hulu is struggling to keep up with its fast-growing competitors, and it is looking like the company could be hitting a plateau. With a reported 45.6 million subscribers in the second-quarter report, Hulu has only managed to grow its subscriber base by about 1.5x. Respectable but small in comparison to Disney+ growing by more than 5x and ESPN+ by more than 3x.
Hulu has two key issues:
- The platform has a very limited global footprint. Even though some of Hulu’s content is offered on Starz, which is more widely available, Hulu is largely confined to the U.S.
- While Hulu has had success with original series like The Handmaid’s Tale, becoming the first streaming service to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series in 2017, the company has not established itself among audiences as a top choice for original programming. This limits its differentiation as consumers continue to get more selective with their streaming subscription dollars.
Hulu’s Problems = Netflix’s Strengths
Netflix has a global footprint and abundant original content. Despite many challenges at Netflix over the last few months, such as a loss in subscribers for the first time in nearly 20 years, the company has been unwavering in its commitment to achieving a strong global presence. With an established presence in 190 countries, the Netflix intro has become truly universal. (Tah dah!)
Ask anyone what their favorite streaming series is, and there’s a good chance you will hear something along the lines of Squid Game, Bridgerton, Money Heist, Ozark, The Witcher, or the highly anticipated Stranger Things, whose recent season 4 broke Netflix’s record for biggest-ever premiere weekend of an English-language series with 287 hours viewed the week of May 23-30. What do all of these have in common? They are all Netflix originals. Remember Tiger King? Netflix original…