Walt Disney Co said it will take full control of the Hulu service in a deal with Comcast Corp that removes an obstacle in the Mouse House's quest to take on rivals including Netflix Inc in the global streaming video war.
As part of this new deal, Comcast's NBCUniversal will continue to license content to Hulu through late 2024, but with NBCUniversal due to launch its own streaming service next year, there are some tricky stipulations. After acquiring a majority stake in the streaming giant following the Walt Disney Company's historic acquisition of 21st Century Fox, Disney has officially wrested the final 33% stake in Hulu from NBCUniversal through a deal with Comcast. In addition to having plenty of more adult-leaning content, Disney has already expressed an interest in selling "bundles" that give users access to Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ for a discounted rate, so Hulu will live on. Ultimately, Disney guaranteed it would buy NBCUniversal's 33% stake in Hulu at a price that, at minimum, would value Hulu at $27.5 billion as of early 2024. "NBCUniversal can terminate most of its content license agreements with Hulu in three years' time, and in one year's time NBCUniversal will have the right to exhibit on its own OTT service certain content that it now licenses exclusively to Hulu in return for reducing the license fee payable by Hulu".
So what does this mean for NBCUniversal's library of TV shows and movies on the service? That NBC streaming service is expected to launch next year. However, NBCUniversal also has the option to "terminate most of its content license agreements" in three years time, if it sees fit.
Comcast acquired NBCUniversal back in 2011 with a consent decree that it wouldn't have a say in Hulu's direction.
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