Comcast relinquishes full control of Hulu to Disney

Comcast relinquishes full control of Hulu to Disney

Comcast's departure from the Hulu board will let Disney prepare unencumbered to expand the scope and reach of Hulu in the domestic and global markets to battle the likes of Netflix, Inc and Apple Inc. First reported by Variety, under this deal NBC Universal (and its parent company, Comcast) will continue to own a 30% stake (to Disney's 60%) but terms have been reached for a a potential sale of that 30% beginning in January 2024. In its agreement, Disney guarantees Comcast an equity valuation no lower than $27.5 billion by early 2024, when Comcast can sell its stake to Disney. "We are now able to completely integrate Hulu into our direct-to-consumer business and leverage the full power of The Walt Disney Company's brands and creative engines to make the service even more compelling and a greater value for consumers". A Hulu app is heading to Comcast's Xfinity X1 cable box platform as part of the agreement as well.

Ending the Hulu-exclusive licensing deal within a year is important because NBCUniversal has its own streaming service launching in 2020.

However, NBCUniversal is preparing to stock its own service as the streaming wars heat up. Now it seems that Disney+ (and to a lesser extent ESPN+) aren't the only streaming services the House of Mouse will control. When the company debuted its Disney+ service to investors last month, it also spoke at length about the future of Hulu, which has more adult programming, like "The Handmaid's Tale".

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Hulu today still shows network TV episodes and original series for $6 a month. Disney has forecast that Hulu will turn a profit around then.

What that means for Hulu's library, which has quietly become one of the better ones on the internet - with a stronger mix of recent films and catalogue titles than the more popular Netflix - remains to be seen. After all, a significant part of Hulu's appeal to subscribers is the variety of shows they can access on the service.

Hulu could stand as a more mature streamer compared to Disney's family-friendly Disney+, but none of that will be changing until at least 2024. Comcast agreed to sell its stake within five years for at least $5.8 billion.

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