Disney Takes Full Control Of Hulu After Striking Deal With Comcast

The Hulu 2013 Summer TCA Tour takes place at The Beverly Hilton Hotel

The Hulu 2013 Summer TCA Tour takes place at The Beverly Hilton Hotel

The Walt Disney Company has secured "full operational control of Hulu after finalizing a deal with the streaming service's other primary shareholder, Comcast".

Under their pact, Comcast's NBCUniversal will retain its 33% ownership interest in Hulu but as early as January 2024, Comcast can require Disney to buy NBCU's interest in Hulu.

Disney acquired majority control of Hulu this year by buying Fox's stake as part of its $71.3 billion purchase of Rupert Murdoch's entertainment empire. (It'll cut Hulu's costs in return.) And NBCUniversal could choose to pull its content from Hulu early, in three years. Disney has guaranteed a sale price that represents a minimum total equity value of $27.5 billion.

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Previously, Disney owned a 30% stake in Hulu with 20th Century Fox owning another 30%, Comcast owning 30%, and AT&T owning 10%. Comcast has previously announced plans for their own free, ad-supported streaming service to launch in 2020. Read about the Disney Hulu ownership deal below.

Hulu's $6-a-month service lets users watch original series and network TV episodes after they air on TV. Conversely, Comcast will continue to offer Hulu as part of its wireline TV bundles to consumers.

An aftereffect of all these new services could be the fragmentation of content. In that move, the Defenders series of Marvel shows (Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Luke Cage, and the like) were canceled at Netflix, while the streaming destination for the Marvel Cinematic Universe library is moving to Disney+ beginning with Captain Marvel. That will change in late 2024, though, as Comcast will have the option of pulling that content and launching it on its own upcoming streaming service. Landgraf said he used to wish FX was its own standalone premium service.

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Disney, which is due to launch its own streaming service, Disney+, in the United States in November, owns 67% of the streamer having been a founding partner in the business more than a decade ago.

"The move enables an global launch for the service". It'll probably stay on Hulu for at least the next few years, but don't be surprised to see those shows start make their way to a Comcast streaming platform.

The deal is structured to further NBC's streaming ambitions as well.

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