Disney is gearing up to launch its standalone streaming service next year, but that does not mean that the company renounces another major streaming platform: Hulu.
The Disney CEO, Bob Iger, addressed some questions about the future of Hulu during Disney's recent investor earnings call, and took note of international expansion plans while creating the content original of Hulu. The company could see a much larger stake in Hulu after the acquisition of the Fox company. Iger told investors that the company has no plans to leave the ship, and wants to expand Hulu's presence as a streaming service.
"Given Hulu's success so far in terms of subscriber growth and the relative strength of the brand and other things like demographics, we think there is an opportunity to increase investment in Hulu, especially on the side of programming" , said Iger.
Part of these expansion plans means making Hulu available on international markets. The biggest competitor of Hulu, Netflix, has seen an enormous growth, thanks to its international market, while internal growth has slowed considerably in the last quarter. Iger's plan to offer Hulu content to an international audience and build on FX and Fox series is a method of trying to substantially increase subscriber counts. It is unclear whether Hulu will follow in the footsteps of Netflix and will invest in more foreign original series for his international subscribers, but Iger said these conversations will take place when the company takes over Hulu's majority control.
"After closing the agreement and after obtaining the 60% possession, we will meet the Hulu management team and the board of directors and discuss the opportunities in terms of global growth and invest more in content" , said Iger. "But it is something we must do after the closure of the agreement".
If Disney expects to expand into European markets, the company will need to ensure that its content offering matches the new impositions of European regulation. This means that there may be more original content for international foreign countries, but it will not happen for a while. Disney's acquisition of Fox should be completed in 2019.
Disney +, the company's standalone streaming service, will be launched with an assortment of high-profile original series and a backlog of original Disney content. Tom Hiddleston will resume his role as Loki for an independent Marvel series, and Diego Luna will return to the Star Wars universe for a standalone Star Wars series. He joins Jon Favreau, who is working on an independent standalone Star Wars call series The Mandalorian.