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ESPN will join Hulu in the Disney+ app by the end of 2024

A mock-up of what an ESPN tile could look like in the Disney+ app.
A mock-up of what an ESPN tile could look like in the Disney+ app. Phil Nickinson / Digital trends

It’s going to become easier — if not downright unavoidable — to get all the Disney-owned streaming services in a single app. Following the addition of a Hulu tile inside the Disney+ app, ESPN will find itself available there by the end of 2024, CEO Bob Iger said during the company’s fiscal second-quarter earnings call.

“By the end of this calendar year, we will be adding an ESPN tile to Disney+,” Iger said, “giving all U.S. subscribers access to select live games and studio programing within the Disney+ app.”

There are a few caveats, and that’s before we get any details beyond what Iger said on the call. First is that ESPN will only be available inside the Disney+ app in the U.S. Second is that latter part of what Iger said above. You’re not getting everything ESPN has to offer directly in the Disney+ app.

Then there’s the matter of ESPN+, which has a wealth of live sports not available on traditional ESPN. And note the difference — Iger specifically was talking about ESPN proper inside the Disney+ app. It all starts to get a little confusing given that we’re talking about three separate apps and services here — Disney+, ESPN+, and the upcoming 2025 standalone ESPN service.

For the record, Disney+ finished the quarter with 54 million paid subscribers in the U.S. and Canada. Hulu had 50.2 million, and ESPN+ had 24.8 million.

“The plan is if you if you buy ESPN flagship, then you’ll get all the ESPN+ programing in it,” Iger said, referring to that standalone service. “If you do not want that, then you can buy ESPN+ on its own. Additionally, our current plan is that with the [ESPN] tile that we’re putting on the combined Disney+/Hulu app, you’ll be able — if you’re an ESPN+ subscriber, you’ll be able to get ESPN+ through that tile.”

So with that clarification, Iger makes it sound as if you’ll be able to get some of ESPN proper’s content inside the Disney+ app — which, as a reminder, also allows for a good chunk of Hulu content in its own tile. And you’ll also be able to get ESPN+ within the ESPN title on the Disney+ app.

Is that all getting a little too cute by half? Will it be simpler to just watch Hulu stuff in the Hulu app, and sports stuff in the ESPN+ app, and Disney+ stuff in the Disney+ app? Maybe. We’ll just have to see when the dust settles.

Iger, for his part, put it this way: “The key to our success in streaming, and what consistently brings consumers back for more, is the array of exceptional content we produce that captivates audiences of all ages and backgrounds.”

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