Disney is losing big money on streaming — and it hasn’t even launched Disney+, its new, trademark streaming service, yet.
The Mouse House lost more than $1 billion in 2018 combined between Hulu and BAMTech, the technology that powers its ESPN+ streaming service, according to an SEC filing on Friday. Hulu drove a $580 million equity investment loss during Disney’s fiscal year, which ended on Sept. 30, while BAMTech was the primary reason for a $469 million loss in its direct-to-consumer segment.
Disney owns a 30 percent stake in Hulu, which is set to double after its buyout of much of 21st Century Fox’s assets. Hulu recently boasted that it hit 25 million paying subscribers across all its products, including its $7.99 a month base subscription and its $39.99 per month Hulu with Live TV option. Hulu has gained fans and critical acclaim thanks to “The Handmaid’s Tale,” its bedrock original series, but hasn’t been able to turn a profit, with the service on pace to lose $1.5 billion during its fiscal year.
Disney’s billion-dollar loss on Hulu and BAMTech comes as it prepares to debut Disney+, its streaming answer to Netflix, later this year. Disney+ — along with housing titles from Disney brands including Marvel, Pixar, LucasFilm and its own vault — will feature a number of original productions. In late 2017, Disney chief Bob Iger said the plan is to price its streaming service “substantially below” Netflix, which now has a high-end plan of $15.99 per month, after raising its prices last week.