NEW: Disney+ Dissolved, Returns to Cable TV

in Disney, Movies & TV

A hand holding a phone with the Disney+ app open

Credit: Mika Baumeister via Unsplash

Disney+ as we know it will change forever “this summer” as The Walt Disney Company rolls out a historic collaboration with Warner Bros. Discovery.

The Mouse’s subscription service has had a tumultuous few years. As soon as the discounted three-year subscription deal expired in 2023, Disney+ rolled out an onslaught of changes. Predictably, prices increased. The streaming service now includes all Hulu content and offers an ad-tier Disney Basic plan or a no-ad Premium plan with an optional ESPN+ add-on.

The Simpsons acquired by Disney
Credit: Disney

As Disney+ struggled to achieve profitability in 2023, the streaming giant cut unpopular content. Months later, CEO Bob Iger announced plans to crack down on password sharing. This year, the United States streaming service rolled out an automated system that offered individuals accused of wrongfully sharing an account the opportunity to upgrade to a shared plan. Otherwise, those caught password-sharing must create individual accounts and pay separately.

The original Disney+ is entirely unrecognizable in the service offered now, and things are about to change even more. After bleeding subscribers from the Indian streaming service Hotstar, The Walt Disney Company has teamed up with Max (formerly HBO Max) for a never-before-offered bundle package.

On Wednesday, The Walt Disney Company announced a new streaming bundle that includes Disney+, Hulu and Max. Both ad-tier and premium plans are available. Subscribers can purchase or upgrade to the bundle on any of the three streaming services’ websites.

The new logo for Max streaming service
Credit: Max

“On the heels of the very successful launch of Hulu on Disney+, this new bundle with Max will offer subscribers even more choice and value,” said Joe Earley, President of Direct to Consumer, Disney Entertainment. “This incredible new partnership puts subscribers first, giving them access to blockbuster films, originals, and three massive libraries featuring the very best brands and entertainment in streaming today.”

“This new offering delivers for consumers the greatest collection of entertainment for the best value in streaming, and will help drive incremental subscribers and much stronger retention,” added JB Perrette, CEO and President of Global Streaming and Games at Warner Bros. Discovery. “Offering this unprecedented entertainment value for fans across all the complimentary genres these three services offer, presents a powerful new roadmap for the future of the industry.”

A collage of Disney+ programming.
Credit: Disney

More information about the Disney+, Max, and Hulu bundle will be revealed in the coming months. The plan’s cost is unknown.

This announcement comes just weeks after a report revealed that Iger was brainstorming ways to add traditional, always-on television channels to Disney+. It’s unclear if the conventional cable TV channels will come with the Max and Hulu bundle, but fans will have access to programming from “ABC, CNN, DC, Discovery…Food Network, FX, HBO, HGTV, Hulu, Marvel, Pixar, Searchlight, Warner Bros., and many more.”

It’s too early to tell how subscribers will respond to the optional upgrade, but some are sure to be disappointed. The streaming service is doubling down on adult content amid calls from conservative viewers to remove “demonic” and otherwise non-family-friendly movies and TV shows. This worsened with the streaming giant’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox, which brought more thrillers and adult comedy onto the platform.

Will you update your Disney+ plan to include Hulu and Max? Share your thoughts with Inside the Magic in the comments.

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