Disney, which barely a year ago took full operational control of Hulu and seven months ago launched subscription service Disney+, is making both streaming services key parts of its presentation to ad buyers, according to Deadline.
Instead of the traditional in-person spring upfront event at New York’s Lincoln Center, the company sent advertisers a 45-minute video showcasing its various brands as it enforced social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Its sales force is also conducting a series of virtual meetings with clients old and new.
“Disney is a leader with connecting Generation Family with Generation Stream,” intoned American Idol host Ryan Seacrest during one sequence of the Disney Advertising Sales Virtual Roadshow. As he spoke, the screen showed a montage of iPads, laptops and phones and a clip from Disney+ flagship show The Mandalorian played. It was an unlikely tableau during a broadcast upfront, but it signaled the fact that traditional media companies have gone all in on streaming, none more so than Disney.
Last month, Disney reported 32.1 million total Hulu subscribers, up from 30.4 million from last quarter and 25.2 million a year ago. About two-thirds of those get an ad-supported version, with the rest springing for the $12-a-month ad-free version. Disney+, meanwhile, has come out of the gate strong, racking up 54.5 million subscribers through May 4. A $13-a-month bundle of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ appears to have gotten traction, though the company has not broken out numbers for how many people get the bundle.