Disney put Disney+ and Hulu at the forefront of its spring upfronts presentation to advertisers, highlighting the studio's new push into streaming services as a major part of its media brand. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Disney had to change the format of this year's upfronts: according to Deadline, advertisers got a 45-minute video presentation of Disney's new brand strategies and content, and the company's two powerhouse streaming services were right at the heart of it. The theme was bridging the gap between old-world and new media, with presentation host Ryan Seacrest telling viewers, "Disney is a leader with connecting Generation Family with Generation Stream.”
Disney's strategy has been a bold and aggressive one, starting years before these current 2020 'Streaming Wars' kicked off between media companies. Under Bob Iger, Disney acquired the Marvel and Star Wars brands, as well as the Hulu streaming services and of course the 20th Century Fox movie and TV content library. That combination of moves alone allowed Disney to launch Disney+ as a family-friendly content powerhouse, while also transforming Hulu into one of the top preferred streaming platforms for TV content.
Disney was clearly pushing its Hulu brand during the upfronts, as Ryan Seacrest told viewers that, “Hulu’s younger, more engaged audience watches TV differently. More bingeing, more devices, more options. They expect personalized, on-demand options that give them choice and control." The company flexed on the fact that Hulu has jumped from 25.2 million to 32.1 million year-over-year, with two-thirds of the subscription base being ad-supported, and 3 the live-tv service up to 3 million subs.
Meanwhile, Disney+ has already wracked up 54.5 million subscribers - although Disney is notably vaguer about how the initial Disney+ / Hulu / ESPN+ is doing with subscribers. There may be some indication of that answer in Disney's advertising strategy, offering its bundled streaming platforms as one product. "We are bringing out one unified ad product," said Disney Sales chief Rita Ferro. “Clients will be able to buy one product across Disney and Hulu.”
The entertainment media industry was steadily marching toward the streaming era - but that march has become a full-on sprint, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. Streaming viewership has gone through the roof since the pandemic forced the world into quarantine lockdown, and it remains very unclear whether or not the masses will turn back to movie theaters as a major form of entertainment. People have similarly been turning away from cable, "Cutting the Cord" in favor of the more customizable streaming model. Even with Disney's success, Netflix still reigns as the king of streaming, with Disney coming out strong; Amazon also making big strides forward, while HBO Max and Peacock are just getting into the game.
What's your preferred streaming service? Let us know in the comments!