Disney Unplugs FX Plus Subscription Service After Fox Merger, Hulu Consolidation

The FX+ subscription service is winding down operations, a move related to Disney absorbing Fox, taking control of Hulu and planning an aggressive rollout of its long-awaited Disney+ service in November.

According to a message on the service’s website, it will cease being available on August 21. Current subscribers can view past seasons of FX and FXX originals on the FXNow app or online via FXNetworks.com, but only through August 20.

“There is no need to cancel your subscription. If you subscribe through your TV provider, your TV provider will discontinue billing you for the service,” the company wrote in a note posted on the site.

Similar to basic-cable competitor AMC’s subscription offshoot AMC Premiere, FX+ was intended as a way of enhancing the experience for viewers by delivering an ad-free experience. The catch was that its $6 monthly fee had to be tacked onto an existing pay-TV subscription.

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FX has never revealed subscriber numbers for FX+, which launched in 2017 via Comcast and later added Cox as a pay-TV partner. At Disney’s May upfront in New York FXNetworks president John Landgraf said having Hulu in the mix gives FX a natural distribution outlet. Hulu can make FX shows available without ads.

“That’s really exciting to me, that FX programming will now be on a quite widely distributed streaming system with an ad-free option,” Landgraf said. “It really expands the dimensions and what we can do.”

One of the longtime limiting factors for FX versus premium cable and streaming rivals is being able to provide full-season stacking of episodes to enable viewers to catch up. The cable programmer also has to provide linear programming that moves the ratings needle and satisfies advertisers.

Earlier this decade, FX struck a lucrative output deal with Amazon Prime Video for past seasons of its shows, including The Americans. Promos during commercial breaks of the show directed viewers to Amazon if they wanted to get current on the show. In today’s streaming-centric landscape, sending viewers elsewhere is anathema to building engagement.

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