Published: Wed, May 15, 2019
Entertaiment | By Minnie Bishop

Disney strikes deal with Comcast, takes full control of Hulu

Disney strikes deal with Comcast, takes full control of Hulu

The accord announced Tuesday represents a big bet by Disney on continued rapid growth for Hulu, home of original hits such as "The Handmaid's Tale".

The agreement, which ascribes a minimum equity value of Hulu at $27.5 billion, allows either company to trigger a sale or purchase of Comcast's 33% stake to Disney as early as January 2024. In addition to the agreement, Comcast has agreed to extend their license of NBCUniversal content on Hulu and Hulu Live for their channels until late 2024. But now Disney has negotiated a deal with Comcast, which sees Disney pick up full control of Hulu beginning today. In one year, NBCUniversal will have the right to exhibit on its own OTT with some content that is now exclusive to Hulu in return for reducing the license fee that Hulu pays. This goes for on-demand content as well as Hulu Live.

As Variety reports, Comcast has agreed to hand over full operational control of Hulu to Disney with immediate effect.

Disney is preparing to launch its own streaming service called Disney+ on November 12. In a year, it can start putting its video on its own streaming service that is now exclusive on Hulu. Now the company, known as WarnerMedia, is launching its own streaming service this year, which will focus on HBO and other shows and movies owned by the company.

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Last month, Hulu said it had bought back telecommunications and media company AT&T Inc's stake in the US entertainment streaming service for $1.43 billion, in a deal that valued Hulu at $15 billion.

Disney's takeover of Hulu is just about complete. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said at an investors conference Tuesday that the company, which owns "Friends", will be "bringing a lot of these media rights, licensing rights back to ourselves" for its streaming service. In a year, its streaming service can also start offering video that's now exclusive on Hulu, sharing the shows with Hulu for the time being.

Disney hasn't even launched its streaming service, Disney+, yet, but it already has a second streaming site.

"The move enables an global launch for the service". That could and probably will change by 2024, but Comcast is guaranteed at least $9.2 billion.

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