The Walt Disney Company to assume full control of Hulu after Comcast deal
Following the acquisition of 20th Century Fox and its assets, The Walt Disney Company took a majority stake in Hulu with 67% ownership over the streaming service. Now, The Walt Disney Company and Comcast Corporation have announced that Disney will assume full operational control of Hulu, effective immediately, in return for Disney and Comcast entering into a “put/call” agreement regarding NBCUniversal’s 33% ownership interest in Hulu. Under the agreement, Comcast can require Disney to buy NBCUniversal’s remaining interests in Hulu as early as January 2024. In addition to the agreement, Comcast has agreed to extend their license of NBCUniversal content on Hulu and Hulu Live for their channels until late 2024.
Disney and Comcast have also agreed to fund Hulu’s recent purchase of AT&T Inc.’s 9.5% interest in Hulu, dividing the service completely between the two for the time being.
So what does this mean for you?
It’s expected in a few years that NBCUniversal will launch their own streaming service, at which point some of the content they license to Hulu will leave that service and go to NBCUniversal’s new service. Until that point, NBCUniversal remains a part-owner in Hulu even though Disney will be steering the ship. Don’t expect Hulu to suddenly be stripped for parts by Disney though as the streaming service has value on its own. In addition to having plenty of more adult-leaning content, Disney has already expressed an interest in selling “bundles” that give users access to Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ for a discounted rate, so Hulu will live on.