Disney has been hinting at this streaming bundle for a while, but CEO Bob Iger made it official on the company’s earnings call this week.
“As we see it, our play in the digital OTT space…is to have general entertainment, we’ll call it Hulu, more family-like entertainment, which is Disney+, and sports,” Iger said.
“And that bundle that we’re creating…offers consumers tremendous volume, tremendous quality and tremendous variety for a good price.”
Because of Disney’s unprecedented — and according to some, monopolistic — reach in the entertainment world, this is the first bundle of disparate streaming services that we’ve seen. But Iger may have overstated just how “tremendous” it really is.
Is the Disney bundle really a good deal?
At face value, the $12.99 Disney bundle seems like incredible value: three streaming services for the same price as a Netflix subscription. But when you break down the numbers, the deal is a lot less impressive.
|Monthly price||Annual price|
|Hulu with ads||$5.99||n/a|
|Total (per month)||$17.97||$15.99|
That’s because only two of the three services are really desirable for most customers: Hulu and Disney+. Disney CFO Christine McCarthy admitted as much on the earnings call, saying, “ESPN+ had a little over 2.4 million paid subscribers at the end of the third quarter, and Hulu had approximately 28 million paid subscribers.”
ESPN+ is a throw-in in this bundle. If you subscribe to Disney+ and Hulu separately, you’ll pay $12.98/mo. — exactly one cent less than the bundle. (That number drops to $11.82/mo. if you pay for Disney+ annually.)
The appeal of the bundle depends entirely on if ESPN+ means anything to you.
What is ESPN+?
Despite the name, ESPN+ is more of a supplement to its cable offerings than the standalone streaming channel that many had hoped for.
You won’t be able to watch SportsCenter, for example, or any of the marquee NFL, NBA and college football games that air on ESPN.
It does have live sports, but the games aren’t as high-profile. ESPN+ airs regular MLB, NHL and MLS games, along with UFC, golf, tennis, cricket and rugby.
In addition, ESPN+ subscribers also get access to a number of articles on ESPN’s website that are behind a paywall.
For serious sports junkies, this perk might be worth the Disney bundle alone.