Disney takes full control of Hulu under deal with Comcast

A logo for The Walt Disney Company is displayed on a trading post during the opening bell on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), May 14, 2019 in New York City.

A logo for The Walt Disney Company is displayed on a trading post during the opening bell on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), May 14, 2019 in New York City. 

AFP

WASHINGTON - Walt Disney Co. said on Tuesday it had reached an agreement to take "full operational control" of the streaming television service Hulu, effective immediately, under a deal with Comcast, which holds a 33 percent stake.

The deal gives Comcast, a media and cable giant, an option to sell its stake to Disney at fair market value within five years, with Hulu's equity to be valued at no less than $27.5-billion (R391-billion).

The agreement enables Disney to step up its efforts in streaming television against Netflix, the market leader, while keeping content from Comcast unit NBCUniversal through 2024.

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Hulu, which is known for its popular Emmy-winning "The Handmaid's Tale" and recently announced it had 28-million viewers, will be one of three streaming options offered by Disney, which is set to launch its family-oriented Disney+ service this year and already offers sports platform ESPN+.

Disney doubled its stake in Hulu to 60-percent with a deal to acquire key assets of Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox. The other stakeholder, AT&T division WarnerMedia, agreed earlier this year to cede its 10-percent stake in the platform.

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Like Netflix, Hulu is adding new original shows including the Marvel comics-based "Ghost Rider" and "Helstrom" as live-action series, bringing in viewers moving away from "linear" television to on-demand services.

Hulu's US user base trails that of Netflix, which has some 60-million US subscribers, but it has grown faster than its larger rival so far in 2019.

Unlike Netflix, it offers a variety of plans that include ad-supported subscriptions.

Source
AFP