On Tuesday, May 14, 2019, Disney agreed to buy Comcast’s 33% share of Hulu, putting Disney in full control of Hulu.
It’s the first time in Hulu’s history that the streaming video service will be under a single company’s umbrella.
Part of the deal was that Comcast agreed to extend the Hulu license to NBCUniversal content until late 2024.
In addition, Comcast will also continue to distribute Hulu on its Xfinity X1 cable TV platform.
This deal gives Disney a fair amount of leverage with its forthcoming $7/month Netflix-like Disney Plus service, which can now offer discounted bundles of both Hulu and Disney items.
Recently, Disney has also taken over 21st Century Fox for $71.3 billion, which gave Disney a majority hold over Hulu. Then, AT&T agreed to sell back its 9.5% share via WarnerMedia. Then the only two left were Comcast and Disney.
All this change comes amidst Disney’s unveiling of its plans to launch Hulu along Disney Plus, which is meant to be the more family-oriented streaming service compared to Hulu, which will be adult-oriented.
Disney Plus is slated to launch on November 12th in the US.
Disney’s deal with Comcast is complicated. Known as a “put/call” agreement, it’ll take place over several years.
Disney has guaranteed that it’ll buy NBCUniversal’s 33% stake in Hulu at a valued price of at least $27.5 billion, as of early 2024.
Meanwhile, AT&T’s deal, a simpler affair, valued Hulu at $15 billion to gets the 10% stake.
For those wondering how Disney’s gobbling of Hulu will impact Netflix, it still has quite a while to go.
Hulu has more than 28 million subscribers, but only operating in the US.
Netflix, meanwhile, has a whopping 150 million subscribers around the world, with a lot of the content being produced and released in-country, a huge draw for international audiences.