Hulu Remains ‘a Very Important Strategic Asset’ for Disney, Streamer's Originals Chief Says

Hulu’s original series chief believes the Walt Disney Company will continue to back his joint-venture subscription streaming platform, despite its plans to launch its own SVOD service later this year.

Hulu original series chief Craig Erwich

Hulu original series chief Craig Erwich

Hulu is a very important strategic asset for our owners,” said Craig Erwich, senior VP of original programming, told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif. Monday.

Erwich noted Hulu’s 48% year-over-year subscriber growth in 2018 to 25 million users. “You don’t get that kind of growth without the support of our ownership,” he said.

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Disney is in the process of absorbing 21st Century Fox, another co-owner in Hulu, and will have a 60% ownership stake in the platform when that acquisition is completed.

The conglomerate is also in the process of launching Disney+, a subscription streaming home for movies and TV shows, which Disney CEO Bob Iger recently labeled “the biggest priority” of 2019 for the company.

Speaking during Hulu’s fourth-quarter earnings call last week, Iger said he’d be better able to lay out long term plans for Hulu once the Fox deal closes. For now, he continues to speak in broad strokes, noting Hulu’s place in Disney’s audience grand segmentation plans that not only involve Disney+, but ESPN+, as well.

“What we said when we decided to launch ESPN+ and Disney+ is that rather than creating one gigantic fat bundle of sports, general entertainment programming and family programming, we thought we'd serve the consumer better by segregating all three,” Iger said.

“Ultimately, our goal would be to use the same tech platform to make it easier for people to sign up for all three should they want to, same credit card, same username, same password, et cetera, but give the consumer the kind of choice that we think consumers are going to demand more and more in today's world,” he added. 

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!