As if Disney wasn't big enough, the multimedia empire added Hulu to its strengthening streaming business as eyes Netflix's throne.
Today Disney and Comcast have entered in a deal which gives the House of Mickey Mouse full control over Hulu. The agreement says Comcast will sell its 33% ownership in Hulu to Disney by 2024, and meanwhile Disney will run the service as it now owns majority shares. Disney has agreed to pay at least $27.5 billion for Comcast's stake in the next five years.
Although Disney is expected to bundle its $6.99 a month Disney+ service with Hulu+ for extra value, the latter is set to lose some of its best shows. The new deal allows NBC Universal to pull all of its shows from Hulu in three years time and put them on its new competing subscription streaming service. Until then Disney will pay a premium to keep content like Saturday Night Live on Hulu.
The deal is massive for Disney, who can use Hulu as another avenue for mature content that won't be hosted on the family-friendly Disney+. With the might of Disney we should see more original shows roll out, and even the possibility of global expansion.
NBC is expected to pull mega-hitters like The Office from Netflix, which comprises a massive portion of yearly watch-time. Netflix currently enjoys 150 million subscribers worldwide compared to Hulu's US-only 60 million.
"Hulu represents the best of television, with its incredible array of award-winning original content, rich library of popular series and movies, and live TV offerings. 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," said Disney CEO Bob Iger.
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