Disney will be taking “full operational control” over Hulu from Comcast, which will be effective immediately. According to the companies agreement, Comcast will be allowed to sell its 33 percent stake in Hulu to Disney in 2024 with a set valuation of at least $27.5 billion, even if the streaming service isn’t worth that amount.
Disney agreed to pay Comcast for its Hulu content as part of the deal for the next five years. CNBC reports that NBC channels will be on Hulu Live, though it will be at a higher rate than what was previously agreed on. NBCUniversal can also run the same content on its own streaming service, which is expected to launch next spring.
“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.”
Prior to Disney pricing its service at $6.99 per month, Comcast was initially going to price its NBCUniversal streaming service at right around $12 per month. However, when Disney announced its prices, Comcast decided to lower the price for its NBC streaming service.
People familiar with the matter said that the paid version of NBCUniversal’s streaming service will not allow you to watch live TV or same-season shows. Meanwhile, the free version of the service will require users to log in through their cable and satellite TV provider, although you will be able to stream live TV from NBCUniversal channels and watch current-season episodes of shows, according to the people.
NBCUniversal will have the option to end most of its content license agreements with Hulu in three years, while it can begin to exhibit some of its own content that is currently exclusively licensed to Hulu in exchange for a reduced license fee for Hulu in one year.
“Hulu represents the best of television, with its incredible array of award-winning original content, rich library of popular series and movies, and live TV offerings,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement. “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.”