In a move that’s being described as one of the most serious challenges yet to Netflix, Disney will assume full operational control of Hulu, Deadline reports. The move comes as a result of a landmark deal with Comcast.
“The companies entered into a ‘put/call’ agreement regarding NBCUniversal’s 33% ownership interest in Hulu,” Deadline reports. “The deal puts a minimum future valuation on Hulu of $27.5 billion, with control transferring to Disney immediately and the financial transaction slated to take effect in 2024.”
The report notes that a Disney rep announced the news to reporters gathered in New York for the Disney upfront press conference.
Deadline adds that the move had been “widely expected given Disney’s strategic push into streaming and its description of Hulu as one of ‘three legs of the stool’ along with Disney+ and ESPN+. Disney+ is set to launch in November. The $7 price point of Disney+ and the lowering of Hulu’s basic, ad-supported service to $6 a month are both noteworthy moves in an industry-wide bid to slow the momentum of Netflix.”
In a statement following the announcement, Disney CEO Bob Iger said: “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. 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.”