Hulu Now Available in Disney+ App

In May 2023, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that the company would launch a "one-app experience" combining Hulu and Disney + content. As promised, the beta was released in December, so we now know what that "one-app" looks like.

It took a series of steps to get to this first phase of combining the two apps, including Disney buying out Comcast's share of Hulu. Now that the beta has launched, users no longer have to leave the Disney+ app to watch Death and Other Details or Abbott Elementary and other Hulu titles.

There's nothing fancy about this new integration in the Disney+ app. Users who subscribe to a Disney+ and Hulu bundle will see a Hulu tile added to the top-row carousel next to National Geographic, Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and Disney.

In fact, the tile in the Disney+ app is similar to the way mature content is handled in the Disney+ app in other parts of the world. In Europe, Asia, the Middle East, North and South Africa, and Canada there is a tile for the Star hub on the Disney+ home screen. Similar to the Hulu hub, Star includes all of the mature Disney content not available on Disney+: FX shows, movies from 20th Century Studios, and even Hulu content.

Clicking on the Hulu tile displays the Hulu hub home page with Hulu originals and TV shows like A Handmaid's Tale, Only Murders in the Building, and The Bear, movies including Matrix Resurrections, Uncharted, specials like the Emmys, and more.

If you know the source of the Hulu content you want to watch, you can find it in the studios and network carousel in the Hulu hub. Here, there is easy access to ABC, [Adult Swim], BBC Studios, Discovery, Fox, Magnolia Pictures, MTV, History Channel, Warner Bros., and more.

You won't see your Hulu Watch History or My Stuff during this beta phase. If you start watching a show from the Hulu hub on Disney+, the Hulu app will not track or register where you stopped. In other words, if you start watching a Hulu title in the Disney+ app, you should probably finish it there. Likewise, the next episode in a series is only tracked in either Disney+ or Hulu. Neither app will "know" that you watched an episode on the other app.

Hulu+ Live TV and Hulu Premium Add-ons are not available in Disney+. According to Variety, not all Hulu content is available in Disney+ due to licensing rights restrictions. Still, the only two titles listed in the article were Modern Family and the reality show Love Island.

The second phase of the Hulu/Disney+ integration is expected in March. This next phase will further combine access to content. Going beyond the Hulu hub, personalized recommendations and curated collections from both apps will appear on the Disney+ home page. There have been hints that Hulu users will be able to watch Disney+ content in the Hulu app, but nothing has officially been announced.

Previously, Disney+ only streamed PG-rated (or softer) family-friendly titles. But now that A Shop For Killers is as easy to access as Mary Poppins, Disney realized it's time to let parents have a say in what their kids can watch. Last year Disney+ added parental control in preparation for the Hulu/Disney+ integration. Parents can set kids' profiles to Junior Mode using a web browser or the Disney+ mobile app. Once set, the the adult carousel doesn't appear in the kid's profile, and the child has no direct access to mature titles available through Hulu and Marvel.

The question is, how will including mature content effect the Disney+ brand? Iger says he's optimistic about the one-app experience: "We expect that Hulu and Disney Plus will result in increased engagement, greater advertising opportunities, lower churn, and reduced customer acquisition costs."

Joe Earley, president of Disney's direct-to-consumer business, said the goal of combining the Hulu and Disney+ apps is to "inspire Disney+ and Hulu standalone subscribers to upgrade to the bundle as well, once they see everything that can be accessed."

For now, unless you're already browsing or streaming from Disney+, opening Hulu is an extra step. Instead of clicking on Hulu directly from your streamer's home page, you must first click on Disney+ and then the Hulu tile. Perhaps once the Disney+ home page includes the Hulu content, it will feel like a one-stop shop.

larrymartin's picture

Love the idea of having Hulu content seamlessly integrated into Disney+. Can not wait to explore the curated collections and personalized recommendations in the next phase.
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