Disney takes full control of Hulu in deal with Comcast
Walt Disney, the US media and entertainment giant, has agreed a deal with rival Comcast to take full control of Hulu, one of the country’s leading over-the-top streaming services.
Disney is buying Comcast’s 33-per-cent stake in Hulu at a valuation of $27.5 billion or whatever the service is calculated to be worth in 2024.
Hulu offers two services, one offering access to various entertainment series, movies and children’s programming priced at $5.99 per month and another comprising this content plus 60 live and on-demand sports, news and entertainment channels priced at $44.99 per month.
Disney doubled its 30-per-cent stake in Hulu when it concluded a $71-billion deal to take over film and TV assets of 21st Century Fox in March of this year, and last month, with the help of Comcast, bought the 10-per-cent stake of telecoms firm AT&T.
The latest move is seen as an attempt by Disney to compete more effectively with the most popular streaming services YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Hulu is set to be bundled with OTT sports platform ESPN+, which was launched in April 2018, and the soon-to-be-launched Disney+ entertainment product, and Disney also has international plans for the service,
As things stand, Comcast shows and channels will remain on Hulu until at least 2024, but the company is switching focus to an NBCUniversal streaming service it is planning to launch in USA in 2020, and Sky, the UK-based European pay-television operator, which is wrested away from Fox in a deal worth £29.7 billion ($38.2 billion) last October.
Disney chief executive Bob Iger said yesterday: “It [Hulu] is the third prong in our direct-to-consumer strategy with ESPN+ and Disney+. It will give us the ability to bundle, which is a big deal.”
He added: “We have plans to roll out Hulu internationally.… This makes it easier for us. But we are going to walk before we can run — we obviously have a lot on our plate right now.”