Disney’s long-awaited plan to bring it into the 21st century is finally beginning to reveal itself.

Expand chart
Data: Company and analyst reports; Chart: Axios Visuals

The big picture: Its acquisition of AT&T's minority stake in Hulu shows that the entertainment giant is more invested in bundling its services as an attractive alternative to Netflix, rather than building a standalone Netflix killer.

Between the lines:

  • In a must-read piece for Vulture, Josef Adalian argues that Disney's plan is to use Disney+ as a gateway to create other streaming destinations that may one day cater to different types of audiences around the world.
  • This, Adalian argues, is not too far off to the theme park model Disney uses to showcase its mega-franchises, like Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars.
  • Hulu, of course, would be one of those destinations, as would its sports subscription bundle ESPN+ and its Indian streaming behemoth Hotstar.
  • The company said last week that it might sell Hulu as a part of a bundled service with Disney+ and ESPN+.
  • AT&T said Monday that it's selling its minority stake of Hulu into Hulu's streaming video joint venture, giving Disney a total of 66% ownership of Hulu and Comcast/NBCUniversal a 33% ownership.

Be smart: Pricing matters, and analysts are bullish on Disney's $7 monthly bill.

  • BTIG Analyst Rich Greenfield explains in a note to clients that Disney's price points look attractive compared to some of its premium cable counterparts, like Showtime and Cinemax.
  • As for WarnerMedia's pricing plans: "Even if we can justify HBO’s existing premium price point of $14.99, with Disney+ in the marketplace at just $6.99, it would appear to make the launch of a premium to HBO-priced WarnerMediaFlix service challenging," Greenfield writes.

Yes, but: For now, it's worth noting that everyone is losing money in the streaming wars.

  • A recent analysis from MoffettNathanson projects that Disney won't start making money off Hulu until 2023, and it won't make money off of its other services by then either.
  • Netflix raised its long-term debt last year by another $2 billion.
  • AT&T says it will use the proceeds from the Hulu transaction to reduce some of its massive debt load that it incurred from the Time Warner deal last year.
  • Disney told investors it thinks it can get 60–90 million global subscribers in the next five years. That's still a far cry from Netflix's 139 million global subscribers, and the company projects that it brought in another 9 million last quarter.

The bottom line: Via Adalian: "People need to stop thinking of the streaming wars as a zero-sum game — but it will have some serious and legit competition among folks who want to cut the cord and programming costs."

Go deeper

Mayors plan multifront attack on census shutdown

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A growing number of mayors are banding together to fight what they consider to be an inaccurate and abruptly curtailed 2020 census, using an arsenal of legal, legislative and congressional efforts.

Why it matters: The outcome may determine whether President Trump or Joe Biden controls the redistricting process, which governs everything from congressional representation and redistricting to funding for schools and Head Start.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Chris Christie: Wear a mask "or you may regret it — as I did" — Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted relief bill.
  2. Business: New state unemployment filings fall.
  3. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  4. Health: Many U.S. deaths were avoidable — The pandemic is getting worse again.
  5. Education: Boston and Chicago send students back home for online learning.
  6. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.
3 hours ago - Technology

Facebook Oversight Board begins hearing appeals

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Facebook Oversight Board announced Thursday that some Facebook and Instagram users can now submit appeals to the Oversight Board for an independent review of their own content removals.

Why it matters: The board, a first-of-its-kind internet governance body, will begin hearing cases from users ahead of the U.S. election.