With the news of Disney’s roll-up of Hulu still sinking in at Disney’s upfront press conference, FX Networks chief John Landgraf told reporters that Hulu will be the north star for FX on the streaming front rather than any stand-alone initiative.
“I think the possibilities of a platform like Hulu are much more exciting to us in the long-run than trying to scale up a standalone version,” Landgraf said. FX has had the FX Now streaming app, which has required a pay-TV subscription, but also has rolled out a stand-alone subscription version called FX+ through partnerships with pay-TV operators. The service offers subscribers access to the full library of FX fare as well as ad-free viewing.
While “there’s lots to be worked out” regarding how the Disney-Comcast agreement affects day-to-day operations and business decisions, Landgraf sees plenty of upside. “If you think about the fact that Hulu has about 40% of its subscribers ad-free,” he said. “That’s really exciting to me, that FX programming will now be on a quite widely distributed streaming system with an ad-free option. It really expands the dimensions and what we can do.”
Disney, Fox and Comcast shared ownership of Hulu for several years before a sequence of M&A deals left Disney in control. The other two “legs of the stool,” as Disney has described them, are Disney+ and ESPN+. The former, which launches in November, will feature Pixar library titles and other family-friendly fare from Marvel, Lucasfilm and elsewhere in the Disney universe that is all likely to be focused in the PG- or G-rated realm.
Accordingly, Landgraf said, “FX doesn’t belong on Disney+ at all. … It belongs on Hulu.”
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