Disney Takes Full Control of Hulu in Deal With Comcast
Disney is taking the steering wheel at Hulu.
The company already owns a majority share of the streaming service, but will now take on full operational control of Hulu under a deal with Comcast.
As part of the agreement, Comcast will sell NBCUniversal's Hulu stake by January 2024 for at least $5.8 billion.
Hulu launched in 2008 as a joint venture between NBCUniversal and News Corp., with Disney joining as a stakeholder the following year.
When Disney acquired Fox's entertainment businesses earlier this year, it became the majority shareholder in Hulu.
Also earlier this year, AT&T sold its stake in Hulu back to Disney and NBCU, which they distributed evenly so that Disney had a 66% stake and NBCU had 33%.
Under the new deal, NBCUniversal will continue to license content to Hulu through 2024. But by 2022, NBCU can cancel most of its licensing agreements.
NBCU is expected to launch its own streaming service within the next few years.
Disney, meanwhile, can integrate Hulu into its future streaming plans unencumbered. It will likely house content that doesn't fit the brand of the family-friendly Disney+ — adult-oriented films and television series. There are already early plans to roll out Hulu internationally, and to bundle it with Disney+ and ESPN.
Hulu was the first streaming service to win an Emmy for Outstanding Series, when "The Handmaid's Tale" won Best Drama in 2017.