Disney will take “full operational control” over Hulu from Comcast, effective immediately, the companies announced Tuesday.
Comcast also will be allowed to sell its 33% stake in Hulu to Disney in 2024 at a valuation of at least $27.5 billion, even if the streaming service is worth less, according to the agreement. Comcast is guaranteed at least $5.8 billion for its Hulu stake, according to the agreement.
— Walt Disney Company (@WaltDisneyCo) May 14, 2019
As part of the deal, Disney has agreed to pay Comcast for its Hulu content for the next five years. NBC channels will be on Hulu Live at a higher rate than previously agreed. NBCUniversal, CNBC’s parent company, will also be able to run the same content on its own streaming service, which is expected to launch in next spring.
While Hulu still has a long way to go before catching up with rivals Amazon and Netflix, the company has seen positive growth over the past few years. Most recently, Variety reported that Disney CFO Christine McCarthy predicts that Hulu will grow to 60 million subscribers by 2024, which is a large increase from its current 26.8 million subscriber base.
Bob Iger, Disney’s chairman, and CEO said, “We are now able to completely integrate Hulu into our direct-to-consumer business and leverage the full power of The Walt Disney Company’s brands and creative engines to make the service even more compelling and a greater value for consumers.”
Disney has been very active in the digital streaming space, announcing its own service called Disney+, which will include the entire Disney motion picture library, and be home to the upcoming Star War series, The Mandalorian. Like many of Hulu’s original series, The Mandalorian will release each of its episodes on a weekly basis, instead of opting for Netflix’s binge model. Disney+ is set to launch on November 12.