Disney just got a major leg up in the streaming game as they are now going to assume full control of Hulu. We had heard whispers and rumors over the last few weeks that talks were taking place between Disney and Comcast. When Disney purchased Fox, they took over a controlling stake in Hulu at 66 percent. Comcast owns the other third and now, they've decided to relinquish control and, eventually, sell their stake in the streaming service.
The companies made the announcement today and it goes into effect immediately. The deal is a bit unorthodox, but essentially Disney will take full control of the service as of now and continue to license the content that Comcast is already providing to Hulu. It's part of a "put/call" deal that stretches for five years. In 2024, either Disney or Comcast will have the option to force the sale of the remaining 33 percent, with a full valuation of at least $27.5 billion. Comcast is reportedly guaranteed to at least make a reported $5.8 billion from the eventual sale.
Even though the sale won't take place for another few years, Hulu is effectively in Disney's hands now. Comcast plans to launch their own streaming service via NBCUniversal later this year. As part of the deal, they will be able to include content exclusively licensed to Hulu on their forthcoming service, under the condition that they license it to Hulu for a smaller fee. Hulu will also be keeping NBC live channels as part of the Hulu Live package. No matter how one slices it, the big winner here is Disney, who will now have not one, but two major streaming services at their disposal to take on Netflix.
Disney is getting ready to launch its own service, Disney+, in November. That service will play home to top-tier new content under the Marvel and Star Wars franchises, with shows such as Falcon and Winter Soldier and The Mandalorian set to debut on the service. Disney CEO Bob Iger has also promised that every Disney movie from their back catalog will be made available on Disney+ for subscribers. What's more, the service will be just $6.99 per month, far cheaper than Netflix. Couple that with Hulu, which will allow Disney to explore content options that don't directly fit within their core brand, and they've just possibly become the name to beat in streaming.
This could end up working out for Comcast as well. Bob Iger has a magic touch and if Disney can increase Hulu's value over the next five years, Comcast could end up getting an even larger chunk of change when the sale actually comes around. For Disney's part, they've been throwing around billions like crazy, as they also paid $71.3 billion for the vast majority of 21st Century Fox's media assets. Indeed, this is yet another huge shift of control in the modern media landscape. It's Disney's world, we're just living in it. This news was previously reported by CNBC.