Disney has slowly been acquiring a larger stake in Hulu, most recently thanks to its acquisition of certain assets owned by 20th Century Fox. According to Variety, today Disney has “full operational control” of Hulu thanks to a new deal with Comcast.
The deal’s terms state that Comcast will retain its 33 percent ownership interest in Hulu through January 2024, after which time either side can demand that the sale of Comcast’s Hulu stake go through.
Comcast’s NBCUniversal division will continue to license content to Hulu through late 2024. However, the deal includes a few stipulations: as soon as 2020, NBCUniversal will have the right to pull programming that was previously exclusive to Hulu, and by 2022 NBCUniversal will be able to cancel most of its content-licensing agreements with Hulu.
Like most other companies, NBCUniversal has plans to launch its own streaming service within the next few years. The Comcast/Disney deal today includes an arrangement where NBCUniversal will be able to keep its shows on Hulu on a nonexclusive basis (with a reduced licensing fee), while also streaming them on its new service.
As it stands, Hulu today is a platform with content from a wide array of content providers, which upload episodes of TV shows as early as the day after they air on cable. In the past, Disney has said that it plans to keep Hulu as it is and focus its own properties on the Disney+ streaming service. According to CEO Bob Iger, Disney’s full ownership of Hulu will create an “even more compelling” service.
“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.
For its main streaming service, Disney has announced that Disney+ will launch this November for $6.99 per month. It will include exclusive original series like “The Mandalorian,” and various TV shows based on Marvel and Pixar properties.