Comcast is handing over control of Hulu to Disney as part of a deal announced today. The arrangement sets the stage for Disney to work Hulu in with Disney + however it chooses. Comcast is still a partner in Hulu and will remain so until at least 2024. This means that programming from Comcast assets like NBC will remain on Hulu and Hulu with live TV for that time period. Though Disney will be paying more for it than previously.
Programming could certainly stay on Hulu in the future as well, but that is an entirely different negotiation to be worked out at a later date. Comcast also has an agreement to enforce an option to sell its 33% stake in Hulu to Disney in 2024 at a valuation of at least $27.5 billion. This amount will be guaranteed even if 33% of Hulu is not actually that valuable in the future. Disney could have a lot of options for programming in the future regardless of Comcast’s properties.
Along the way Comcast still gets to rake in money from its association with Hulu. According to CNBC Comcast makes 500 million dollars per year via its partnership with Disney.
Comcast is known to be working on its own streaming service set to debut in 2020. The agreement with Disney allows Comcast to use programming that is currently on Hulu on the upcoming service. This means that in season programming will be available via the service which is expected to be available to any customer who also has a pay TV provider.
“We believe strongly in the direct-to-consumer space and our content is a key driver of that ecosystem,” NBC Universal CEO Steve Burke said in a statement. “The extension of the Hulu content-licensing agreement will generate significant cash flow for us, while giving us maximum flexibility to program and distribute to our own direct-to-consumer platform, as we build that business. Significantly, this transaction also affirms the value of our stake, provides a path to liquidity and ensures our continued equity participation in Hulu’s success.”