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Ampere: Disney+, Hulu Union Hold 30% of Top 100 Programs

New data from Ampere Analysis contends a combined Disney+/Hulu offering would account for about 30% of the 100 most popular titles of any U.S. subscription streaming service — significantly ahead of Netflix’s 23% market share.

Among the 100 titles are shows from Disney’s Marvel Studios or Lucasfilm and Hulu originals such as “Only Murders in the Building” and “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

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One of former Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s big goals was consolidating ownership of the Hulu streaming platform, which also includes the Hulu + Live TV online television service. Disney currently owns 66% of Hulu while NBCUniversal owns 33%. The latter also is interested in owning the platform outright, according to Brian Roberts, CEO of parent Comcast.

Comcast and Disney have a Jan. 1, 2024, agreement in place that gives Disney the option to acquire the remaining 33% stake for no less than $27.5 billion. Chapek wanted to accelerate the sales date — a strategy that now remains on the shelf.

A merger seems logical to Ampere’s analysts, as Disney’s share of Hulu content has grown significantly, suggesting that the company has continued to invest considerably in the platform. Since September 2016, the proportion of Hulu’s catalog to which Disney owns the distribution rights has tripled, from 6% of all movies and TV shows to 19% by September 2022.

Meanwhile, the major studios without streaming platforms have reduced their contribution to Hulu’s content slate (down from 81% in 2016 to 71% in 2022), and those with their own streaming services have generally maintained or reduced their input. Specifically, the combined content from NBCUniversal, Paramount Global, and Warner Bros. Discovery now makes up less than 10% of all TV shows and movies on Hulu.

“The threat of further popular or critically acclaimed titles leaving Hulu for rival platforms is a concern as engaging content is critical for subscriber retention, especially as the domestic SVOD market nears saturation,” Christen Tamisin, analyst at Ampere, said in a statement. “This risk makes the argument for Disney to merge Hulu and Disney+ into a single platform stronger.”

Meanwhile, the ongoing removal of content from Hulu third party contetn holders to support newer services like Peacock, Paramount+ and HBO Max poses a threat to Hulu’s competitiveness, according to Ampere. The streamer has already lost titles such as “America’s Got Talent” (to Peacock), movies and TV shows set within the “Star Trek” universe (to Paramount+) or “Family Matters” (to Max).

If major studios reclaim their proprietary content, Hulu could lose 10% of its overall catalog. This figure rises to 37% of Hulu’s 100 most popular titles, according to Ampere.

“On the other hand, Disney+ and Hulu’s complementary catalogs mean a combined platform would have a more diverse content offering—akin to other major market players—than the two standalone platforms have currently,” Tamisin said. “While the Disney brand has long been associated with family-friendly content, Hulu has a broader, general-audience appeal, offering a wide range of genres and more adult-targeted titles.”

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