Our campaign’s decision to target Hulu is a strategic one.
With the Disney-Fox merger now complete and Disney given full control over Hulu in a deal with Comcast, the platform is prime real estate for a potential revival of the Daredevil series. Disney has released information regarding plans to house R-rated content on the Hulu platform - and to develop Marvel content aimed at adult audiences specifically for Hulu. They’ve also unveiled plans to take the service international.
Disney’s Plan for Hulu
Changes are coming for Hulu. As outlined at the Walt Disney Company Investor Day on April 11, 2019, Disney plans to widely expand Hulu’s content offerings, including a strong increase in the number of new original episodic series - by year 5, that number rises to 50+.
What’s more, Disney’s plans include a hefty financial investment in original content for Hulu in the coming years, rising to over two billion dollars by fiscal year 2024.
As of July 2019, Walt Disney Television has taken oversight of Hulu’s original scripted drama and comedy development. As Dana Walden, head of Disney Television Studios and ABC Entertainment said, “This new structure will enable Hulu to have access to many of the best creators in the world and programming from all of the content engines inside of Walt Disney Television.”
Not only do we know that Disney intends to bring new content to Hulu - we know they plan to develop Marvel content aimed at adult audiences specifically for Hulu.
On May 1, 2019, two new Marvel live-action series were announced to debut 2020 on Hulu: Helstrom and Ghost Rider. The new series join The Runaways, and five previously announced Marvel animated series, all adult-oriented: M.O.D.O.K., Hit-Monkey, Tigra & Dazzler, and Howard the Duck, all culminating in the team-up special The Offenders. The Ghost Rider lead will be reprised by Gabriel Luna who played the popular character on Marvel ABC’s Agents of SHIELD.
That makes eight Marvel shows currently in the works for Hulu, and appears to be only the beginning. Executives at both Disney and Hulu realize the power and potential of a built-in fanbase such as Marvel’s, and are keeping consumers firmly in view:
Disney’s head of streaming, Kevin Mayer (Chairman, Direct-to-Consumer & International, The Walt Disney Company): 'Marvel is strong with young adults... almost all consumers in our major markets around the world are familiar with our brands, and more than 1 billion people identify themselves as true fans. And when I say true fans, I don't mean folks who casually click a like button every now and then, these are passionate consumers with a strong or very strong relationship with our brands. And they are spending real money on our products. This deep emotional connection creates opportunities for tremendous success.' (emphasis added)
Hulu’s Chief Executive Officer, Randy Freer: 'With the support of ownership as well as continuing to work with partner studios, Hulu has access to an unending stream of iconic characters, recognizable IP and the most sought‐after storytellers today. Hulu has the resources and creativity to go head to head with any TV product out there and win.' (emphasis added)
Craig Erwich, head of Hulu's Originals division: “Marvel has a ton of titles we’d be interested in,” he said, when asked by TheWrap at the TCA press tour if Hulu would have interest in reviving one of those series. “It kind of just depends on when they’re ready, [and] who, most importantly, is going to be behind these things.”
It’s clear that Marvel will play a role in Hulu’s future. With plans already in place to expand Hulu’s content offerings and to develop adult-oriented Marvel entertainment for the platform, we strongly believe Daredevil can and should be a part of that future.
Hulu may be a U.S.-only service at the present time, but that too will soon change. Disney has gone on record regarding plans for taking the platform international, including at the April 2019 Investor Day:
Kevin Mayer: '... And with our newly acquired majority stake of Hulu, we're actively evaluating international rollout strategies for that service. One of the main drivers behind our acquisition of 21st Century Fox was to accelerate and enhance our Direct To Consumer businesses overseas.'
Christine McCarthy ‐ Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, The Walt Disney Company: 'Now given that our acquisition of Twenty‐First Century Fox closed just last month, we are still assessing the prospect and timing of international launches which would have an impact on our financial outlook for Hulu. '
This serves to affirms Kevin Mayer’s statement in Dec 18, 2018 when asked by the Hollywood Reporter:*
How does Hulu fit into your international plans?
We would like to have an international trilogy of services where it makes sense. We want a sports service like we have here; we want a general entertainment service, which would be Hulu, in different places around the world where we don't have that; and we want to have Disney around the world. An international rollout of Hulu would be something that we'd be very interested in, and we're talking to Hulu about that now.
Hulu’s future is international, making it not only a desirable home for future seasons of Daredevil - but making Daredevil, with its global fanbase, a very desirable property for Hulu in return. One thing is for sure: we will do our part to continue making it known to Hulu that there is a tremendous fanbase ready to bring their dollars to the subscription service that Saves Daredevil.
Why not Disney+?
Disney has gone on record numerous times making it clear that Disney+ will only house family-friendly content. We are campaigning for a return of the show we love as we know it - mature, adult-oriented entertainment.
Kevin Mayer - Chairman, Direct To Consumer & International: “Our family friendly Disney+ service will feature a robust and ever‐growing slate of original content from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic as well as recently released films and iconic content from our extensive libraries.”
Agnes Chu – Senior Vice President of Content, Disney+: “Ultimately, Disney+ will become the exclusive streaming home for all family‐friendly content from our brands.”
Karim Zreik, Senior Vice President of Original Programming for Marvel Entertainment: “Disney is making a concerted effort to use all of the studios in their arsenal whether it’s Kennedy / Marshall doing Star Wars or Marvel; we [at Marvel] are providing content for them. [...] [Disney+] is a different platform. Disney+ is a family brand first, four quadrants so...that’s what we’re targeting. I don’t think they’d be interested in any edgy stuff, like what we did on Netflix.”
Disney CEO Bob Iger has spoken of Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ as the “three legs of the stool” in Disney’s streaming strategy, and it has been confirmed that a bundle of the three services will be offered at the price of $12.99/month. Disney+ and Hulu will play unique but complementary roles in Disney’s streaming future, with Hulu the more fitting home for Daredevil.
Why not Netflix? Why not Amazon Prime?
Marvel is owned by Disney, and Disney is actively working to bring all its intellectual property back fully under its control. Moving forward, it’s extremely unlikely that Disney would make any further deals with streaming services it doesn’t own (such as Amazon Prime, HBO, Netflix, or various others) to develop or house Marvel content.