Comcast and Disney announced a deal in which Disney will have complete control of Hulu effective May 14. Comcast will be selling its Hulu stake to Disney within five years for at least $5.8 billion.
The new deal includes the licensed content from Comcast’s NBCUniversal until late 2024, but NBCUniversal will have the right to pull exclusive content from Hulu starting next year. This means NBC shows such as “The Office” and “Saturday Night Live” willl remain on Hulu for upto five years. However, NBCUniversal is also planning to launch an ad-supported free streaming platform for TV subscribers which is set to launch in early 2020.
Disney acquired a majority hold on Hulu after the $71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox which closed this year in March. It also acquired another 9.5% from AT&T, which sold its shares for $1.43 billion. With the sale of the Comcast shares announced on Tuesday, Disney now has full operational control over Hulu.
“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,” Disney chairman/CEO Bob Iger said in a statement about the pact.
Netflix is still the current streaming leader, with 157.3 million viewers and Hulu comes in at third with 63.9 million viewers. However, with the new Disney-Comcast deal, many foresee a growth for Hulu as a major contender in the streaming industry.
But Hulu is not without other competitors. The number of streaming services still continue to grow as Disney plans to launch its own streaming service later this year, and NBCUniversal in 2020. AT&T’s WarnerMedia also has a beta version of its own subscription service in the works with a planned launch date in 2019.
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