It was reported last month that Disney had bought out AT&T for their stake with a huge $1.43 billion bid. However, Comcast has now approved Disney’s full operational control of the streaming service after Disney bought Fox and a majority share of Hulu just months ago. In return for this acquisition which takes place with immediate effect, Comcast has gained a number of lucrative perks including the agreement that it will sell Disney their stake in Hulu within the next five years for a minimum of $9.2 billion. Other perks to this deal for Comcast include the opportunity to cancel any and all content-licensing deals with the streaming service by 2022, as well as any Hulu-exclusive deals to be cancelled within one year. In exchange, Hulu Live will continue to enjoy access to Comcast owned NBCUniversal channels up until 2024 as well as the streaming service continuing to be available through Comcast’s Xfinity X1 platform.
NBCUniversal cutting ties with Hulu will not damage the mass media conglomerate as it has its own streaming service set to launch in 2020. This free service will provide ad-supported content as a means to generate a profit, meaning if the service provides exclusive content then it provides more reason for viewers to tune in.
As of now, Comcast retains its 33% share of Hulu. However, as per the agreement, Disney is able to claim that share in January 2024. The minimum price to buy this 33% stake is based on Hulu being valued at $27.5 billion, while this value could mature in the next 5 years, Comcast will still be guaranteed at least the agreed upon price of $9.2billion.
While the business side of this deal isn’t what fans of either studio will want to be interested in, fans can rejoice in knowing that ultimately this deal means NBCUniversal will gain back all of its content as well as a big payday coming while Disney has complete control over Hulu and can therefore has another platform to stream content on, including its currently in-development Marvel series.