The quasi-news announcement last week that Disney will fully acquire Hulu—as has been obvious for months—has prompted far more consequential questions about the business. Foremost among them, of course, regards the price that Bob Iger will pay Comcast for the remaining one-third of the asset that Disney doesn’t already own. Surely, Hulu is worth more than the $27.5 billion floor valuation that both parties agreed to in 2019. But how much more?
Bankers for Disney and Comcast will have their own formulas, with a third bank set to enter the negotiations if their numbers diverge by more than 10 percent. But I’m interested in the broader and potentially more important question of Hulu’s value to Disney, which faces complex decisions about what to do with the streamer once it’s fully under Iger’s control. We already have some idea of Disney’s plans, like to create a unified Disney+/Hulu app. The combined platform would reach about 90 million subscribers in the U.S., maintaining the largest share of audience attention domestically. Hulu and Disney+ also own 15.2 percent and 9.4 percent, respectively, of catalog demand share (overall share of audience attention for all titles on a platform, including movies and TV series), according to Parrot Analytics. Combined, they would reach nearly one quarter, which leapfrogs Max’s 16 percent.
Increased synergies lie ahead for Disney, but what do those entail? To begin, an expected 20 percent increase in engagement between Disney+ and Hulu subscribers domestically, according to an analysis by Parrot, where I work as director of strategy. Furthermore, integrating key Hulu originals and additional library content into Disney+ could protect around $500 million in at-risk churn revenue. When considering the complementary audience demos of both platforms, the combined entity could yield an additional $750 million in advertising revenue.