Disney to Secure Full Ownership of Hulu with $8.6 Billion Deal
The Walt Disney Co. has announced its intention to acquire a 33% stake in Hulu from Comcast for approximately $8.6 billion. This strategic move will grant Disney complete control of the popular streaming service. Notably, Disney has effectively been overseeing Hulu’s operations since 2019, when Comcast relinquished its decision-making authority and adopted a silent partner role.
Disney’s statement regarding the acquisition simply mentioned that it would “further Disney’s streaming objectives.” This development underscores Disney’s commitment to bolstering its position in the competitive streaming industry.
Hulu, established in 2007, emerged as a platform supported by entertainment giants seeking to counter the growing influence of the internet with a dedicated online space for their TV shows. Disney became involved in 2009 with plans to offer content from ABC, ESPN, and the Disney Channel. Over a decade later, Disney strengthened its grip on the platform when it acquired 21st Century Fox.
For several years, Disney has integrated Hulu as one of its own services, evident in its 2019 launch of Disney+, which included a streaming bundle offering Hulu, Disney+, and ESPN. However, the streaming landscape has since evolved, leading Disney to make adjustments in response to the challenges posed by rampant expansion, competitive pricing, and widespread password sharing.
Disney+ and Hulu by 20% to 27%
As part of its strategy, Disney has pledged to crack down on non-paying users. It had increased prices for ad-free versions of Disney+ and Hulu by 20% to 27%. In explaining these moves, CEO Bob Iger indicated that they were aimed at directing consumers towards more affordable ad-supported options, with subscription rates for those channels remaining unchanged.
Iger also noted the positive trends in the advertising market for streaming. He described as being healthier than traditional TV ads. Disney’s pricing strategy is aligned with efforts to encourage more subscribers to opt for the advertising-supported tier. It is reinforcing the company’s presence in the rapidly evolving streaming sector.
In summary, Disney’s acquisition of the remaining stake in Hulu solidifies its standing in the streaming industry. It is marking another significant step in its ongoing efforts to shape the future of entertainment content delivery.