Disney has officially launched the beta version of the highly-anticipated Hulu on Disney Plus experience. The integration, part of Disney's ongoing effort to consolidate its streaming platforms, allows subscribers to seamlessly access content from both Disney Plus and Hulu through a unified interface.
This beta launch, initiated on December 6, offers users a glimpse into the forthcoming, more integrated version slated for a full release in March 2024, Disney announced in a blog post.
For subscribers of the Disney Bundle, encompassing Disney Plus and Hulu, the Hulu on Disney Plus feature is automatically accessible within the Disney Plus app. Users will notice a new Hulu card prominently displayed alongside the familiar Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic titles at the top of the Disney Plus interface.
Upon selecting the Hulu option, subscribers are directed to the "Hulu Hub," a dedicated section providing access to the extensive library of movies and TV shows offered by Hulu.
The beta rollout is part of Disney's strategy to understand consumer preferences and refine the user experience before the official launch next spring. Disney CEO Bob Iger previously outlined the integration plan, emphasizing the potential benefits of increased viewer engagement and reduced customer acquisition costs.
However, the beta version comes with certain limitations. Variety notes that there are licensing restrictions preventing the inclusion of specific Hulu titles on Disney Plus. Popular shows like "Modern Family" and "Love Island" will not be available on the integrated platform due to these constraints. Additionally, Hulu's linear channels, including Hulu + Live TV, will remain exclusive to Hulu's standalone app, preserving their distinct offerings.
One crucial aspect Disney is prioritizing with the beta launch is the introduction of enhanced parental controls. Given that Hulu features content with mature themes and explicit language, the company aims to give Disney Plus subscribers with children sufficient time to familiarize themselves with the parental control settings.
During the beta phase, Hulu on Disney Plus does not synchronize viewing progress between the two platforms. This means that if a user starts watching a show on Hulu within Disney Plus, the standalone Hulu app won't track the viewing progress. Disney plans to address this limitation with the full integration scheduled for March 2024.
The Hulu on Disney Plus experience is not intended to replace the standalone Hulu or Disney Plus apps, as both will continue to be available as separate offerings. Disney also clarified that Hulu with Live TV and Premium add-ons will only be accessible through the standalone Hulu app.