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Photo: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Disney CEO Bob Iger has two top priorities. As he said on Disney's quarterly earnings call this week, the first is the integration of 21st Century Fox, which he recently acquired for $52 billion, in a deal he's hopeful will close "meaningfully earlier" than June. The second is developing online services that reach consumers directly, especially now that he'll have a majority stake in Hulu once the 21CF deal closes.

Iger made all the necessary noises about protecting minority shareholders in Hulu: NBCUniversal still owns 30%, while WarnerMedia owns 10%. But control of Hulu was one of the strategic drivers behind the 21CF acquisition, and Iger was clear that as soon as the deal closes, he's going to push Hulu toward "both global growth and investing more in content."

  • Hulu's currently losing about $1 billion per year. Iger is saying that he wants that number to go up, not down.
  • Hulu's losses aren't really losses. When Hulu pays its shareholders for new original programming, that's an expense for Hulu — but it increases the shareholders' revenues by the same amount.
  • Expect more original content like "The Handmaid's Tale" and more aggressive competition with Netflix. Fox is Hollywood's leading television studio, and Iger wants it to remain more relevant than ever in a world where a new generation has very little interest in paying hundreds of dollars a month for a cable bundle.

The bottom line: Disney is very happy with the performance of its ESPN+ product and wants to recreate that success not only with the new Disney+, for family entertainment, but also with Hulu. Between them, the three services could be a formidable competitive threat to Netflix.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats' billionaires tax explained

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

There is now legislative language behind the push to tax American billionaires on unrealized capital gains, as Sen. Ron Wyden last night released his 107-page plan.

Why it matters: This would be a sea change in U.S. tax policy, which has only applied to realized gains (otherwise known as income).

4 hours ago - World

Scoop: Blinken protests Israel settlements approval in "tense" phone call

Benny Gantz (L) and Tony Blinken. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/Pool/AFP via Getty

Secretary of State Tony Blinken protested the decision to approve 3,000 new housing units in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank during a tense phone call on Tuesday with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, three Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: This is the first time new construction in the settlements has been approved since President Biden assumed office, and the Biden administration had been privately pressing the Israeli government not to proceed.

The startup that wants to disrupt big internet providers

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

A new startup backed by funding from AOL founder Steve Case and Laurene Powell Jobs wants to break up broadband monopolies across the country.

Why it matters: Internet access has been crucial during the pandemic, but it's not ubiquitous, and it can be both slow and unaffordable in swaths of the country.