Hulu is getting over 50 Disney movies thanks to new licensing deal

In its continuing battle with Netflix, Hulu this week announced a new licensing deal with Disney which sees Hulu gaining the exclusive rights to stream a sizable collection of Disney movies via its subscription service. In total, over 50 titles will become available on Hulu in the months ahead, including “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Mulan,” “Pocahontas,” “Hercules,” “Lilo & Stitch,” “Tarzan,” and others.

Some of the titles have already hit the service, including “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Mulan,” “Pocahontas,” “Hercules,” “Sister Act” and “Air Bud.”

Others will arrive in 2017, such as “Con Air,” “Step Up,” “Gone in 60 Seconds,” “Pearl Harbor,” “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion,” “The Mighty Ducks,” “Lilo & Stitch,” “Tarzan,” “The Emperor’s New Groove,” “Muppet Treasure Island,” and “The Princess and the Frog.”

Disney, which has a 30 percent stake in Hulu, already offers other content on Hulu thanks to a deal with the Disney-ABC Television Group, announced earlier this year. This includes Disney Channel Original Movies and other programming from Disney’s TV networks.

This new Hulu-Disney licensing agreement means Disney is now splitting its movie library between multiple services, as the company had a prior deal with Netflix, announced back in 2012, that allows Netflix to stream Disney films – including those from Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Marvel, Pixar, and Lucasfilm – within the same window as they would be allowed on paid cable TV networks, like HBO.

Netflix reminded viewers about this deal in May, and the titles started streaming in the fall.

Disney also offers its own streaming service, DisneyLife, in Europe, which includes movies, TV, music and other content.

Terms of the multi-year Hulu-Disney deal were not disclosed, but the additions will go a long way towards rounding out Hulu’s content catalog with programming aimed at children.

Streaming services often focus on their kids’ section, because it’s a key selling point for many paying subscribers. In the past several years, we’ve seen Netflix and Amazon both heavily invest in their own original kids’ programming, for example, while HBO announced a deal with Sesame Workshop in 2015 to bring the iconic “Sesame Street” to its service along with other shows.

In addition to the expansion of the kids’ lineup on Hulu, the service also recently rolled out another Netflix-like feature with its launch of user profiles. This gives kids their own login to Hulu that’s separate from their parents, complete with personalized recommendations, viewing history, and their own watchlist.

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Hulu lands a cache of Disney films for streaming

Hulu continues to bolster its growing online profile with a new exclusive deal for a library of Disney films including Mulan and Pocahontas.

The multi-year deal makes Hulu the only subscription streaming video service able to offer the collection of 50-plus animated and live-action films including The Nightmare Before Christmas, Air Bud and Sister Act. Many of the movies are available to stream now.

This is Hulu's first deal for Disney theatrical releases -- and its largest catalog deal with a studio -- but Hulu and Disney already play nice. Earlier this year, Hulu reached a deal with The Disney-ABC Television Group to stream Disney Channel and its family of kids' programming networks as well as more than 20 Disney Channel Original Movies.

The agreements land ahead of Hulu's planned live streaming service, scheduled to launch this year. For now, Hulu's subscription service is delivered on demand: a $7.99 monthly tier has limited advertising, while an $11.99 tier has no commercials.

The Walt Disney Company owns a 30% stake in Hulu, which launched in 2008, as does Comcast (NBCUniversal) and 21st Century Fox. Time Warner became a 10% stakeholder in August.

Others among the 50-plus titles that will land on Hulu in the coming months: Lilo & Stitch, Tarzan, The Emperor's New Groove, Muppet Treasure Island, The Princess and the Frog, Con Air, Gone in 60 Seconds, The Mighty Ducks, Pearl Harbor, Step Up, and Romy and Michele's High School Reunion.

"The Disney brand is synonymous with beloved movies that the whole family can enjoy,” said Craig Erwich, Hulu senior vice president and head of content in a statement. “Expanding our offering of top-rated kids and family programming has been a top priority for us, and we know viewers will love watching these films over and over again on our service.”

This collection of older Disney films does not include recent releases such as the recent release Star Wars: Rogue One, as Netflix has streaming rights to Disney films released in 2016 and beyond.

Biz Break: Hulu’s new Disney deal adds to battle with Netflix

Battle Lines: One of the biggest growth areas for internet-based streaming services is with children. There’s a reason why in addition to letting you set up your own viewing profile, Netflix offers a built-in “Kids” option that acts like a depository for the service’s kids-themed shows and movies.

And few things say “kids” more than Disney. I can personally speak to that after my wife and I took our daughters to see Disney’s latest hit movie, “Moana,” over the Christmas weekend.

Well, if you happened to be looking for something to watch over the last week or so, and you ventured away from Netflix, you might have gone over to Hulu and stumbled across director Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Or, “Mulan.” Or “Pochahontas.” And that wasn’t any kind of mistake because thanks to a new content-licensing deal, Hulu has gotten its hands upon 56 Disney films on an exclusive basis.
Some of these had been on Netflix. (Oh, if I had a dollar for every time my daughters turned on Netflix and watched “Mulan.”) And some of them might not fall into the “kids” category. (Hey, I love the over-the-top performances of Nicholas Cage and everyone else in “Con Air,” but it’s not meant for second-graders.) But there is no doubt that Hulu’s deal is meant to attract kids, and the families that come with them, to the streaming subscription service.

There are some caveats, however. Hulu’s deal with Disney is only for films that have already been released. And there are only so many of them. This contrasts with a deal that Netflix has with Disney for certain titles, most notably new Disney theatrical releases beginning this year. That’s why you’ve been able to watch “Zootopia” and the most-recent version of “The Jungle Book” on Netflix over the past few months.

But, the point is that Hulu, with its more than 12 million subscribers, isn’t rolling over when faced with Netflix and its more than 47 million subscribers in the U.S. (and almost 87 million worldwide). There remains room for multiple streaming services in peoples’ living rooms, as long as they have the content for which people are willing to pay.

Now, if someone would just start streaming the “Star Wars” movies.

Middle Innings:

Snapping up a Deal: In case you missed it, and with Christmas being on the weekend this year, chances are good that you had a few things on your mind other than thinking about Snapchat.

But, it looks like Snap, which owns the Snapchat social networking app, did a little last-minute Christmas shopping right before the holiday. The company reportedly spent between $30 million and $40 million to acquire augmented reality technology company Cimagine Media.

Cimagine, based in Israel, does a lot of stuff, including computer vision, real-time image processing, mobile development and international marketing. The company focuses on app-based e-commerce, which is something Snap is working on building up as the company grows and prepares to go public in an IPO that could come some time in 2017.

Bottom of the Lineup:

Here’s a look at how some leading Silicon Valley stocks did Tuesday:

Movin’ on Up: Gains came from Nvidia, SunPower, Yelp, Lending Club and Advanced Micro Devices.

In the Red: Decliners included Impax Laboratories, Glu Mobile, Quotient Technology, Ultra Clean Holdings and Nektar Therapeutics.

The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.5 percent to reach 5,487.44.

The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up by 0.1 percent to end the day at 19,945.04.

And the broad-based Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.2 percent to finish at 2,268.88.

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