Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger clarified the company’s streaming strategy in the call with investors, with implications for the future of streaming geek content. From the beginning, feeding more content into Disney’s planned proprietary streaming service was a big part of the impetus for the deal (see “Disney Eying Fox Assets”). Disney had previously announced that it was starting a new over-the-top service that would take Disney, Lucasfilm, and Marvel content direct-to-consumer, and was taking that content (excluding the TV series produced for Netflix) off Netflix to move to the new streaming service (see “Disney Drops the Other Shoe on Netflix”). Disney had also announced that it was starting an ESPN OTT service for sports. Now Iger laid out how the assets being acquired in the Fox deal would fit into that strategy.
One of the assets being acquired in the deal is Fox’s interest in Hulu, which combined with the share Disney already owned will give Disney a controlling interest in the streaming service. In Iger’s vision for Disney’s streaming services, Hulu will carry adult content, the Disney OTT service will offer family fare, and ESPN will offer sports. “[W]hat we envisioned is actually taking Hulu and making it basically the home of adult programming where the ABC product would go, where the FX product would go, where the output of the studios that was not branded Disney, Marvel, Pixar, et cetera would go,” Iger said in the call. “And then we would go to market with essentially three apps, all distinct in terms of their product.”
Disney has already revealed that it plans to continue to produce R-rated Marvel films such as Deadpool (see “’Deadpool’ Won’t Lose R-Rating at Disney”), and has suggested that it may do so under a “Marvel-R brand” to distinguish it from the more family-friendly Marvel fare. Films under a separate adult Marvel brand would be likely to end up on Hulu.
Fox also has adult-oriented Marvel television content that would be a better fit for Hulu, including the character drama Legion on FX and the planned Deadpool animated series with Donald Glover as showrunner for FXX (see “Deadpool Animated Series in Development”).
Other adult-oriented geek content from Fox, such as films in the Alien universe, American Horror Story, and Bob’s Burgers,. may also end up on Hulu,
Iger also revealed that Disney intends to price its streaming services very inexpensively, much less than Netflix since the Disney offerings will have less content.
All together, the pipelines are built or being built, Disney has a plan on how to use them and a much larger body of content to fill them, and the landscape for streaming geek content is about to change dramatically.