Longtime readers of PARQOR will be familiar with my argument that Disney is likely running an A/B/C/D test of Disney+ bundles across different regions (NOTE: on the Substack archive). Those four tests are:
Two key tests have changed since last February, when I wrote the essay.
Test A has seen a major change. Disney+ is now increasingly adding more adult-oriented fare to Disney+, like the third season of queer teen romantic drama “Love, Victor”, whose first season was originally moved from Disney+ to Hulu after Disney’s near-religious focus on being family-friendly. It also faces questions about Hulu’s future as Disney approaches a January 2024 deadline to buy Comcast’s remaining 33% stake in the business for a minimum of $27.5B (as per the May 2019 agreement).
Test D has also seen a major change after losing the streaming rights to Indian Premier League cricket: though Disney+ Hotstar still offers sports, it does not have one of the hottest cricket broadcasts in India.
The Disney+ bundle in both markets now looks significantly different in two key markets 18 months after I first speculated about these four tests. A key question is, what do these significant differences tell us about the future of the Disney sports streaming?
Test A is focused on how Hulu and ESPN+ help Disney+ grow. But it may ultimately be about the future of Hulu, which has “messy positioning” within Disney and faces an uncertain future as 2024 approaches.
An agreement with Comcast allows Comcast to ...