Speaking at the MoffettNathanson Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference on Tuesday, May 16th, Comcast chief executive Brian Roberts announced that the company is set to offload its streaming media service Hulu by early next year.
Based on its current contract, Comcast will be allowed to sell its stake in the streaming media firm by then and the pending sale is expected to bring additional value to company shareholders.
Comcast presently holds a 33% stake in Hulu, while the remainder is owned by Disney which is expected to buy Comcast out. Comcast actually signed an agreement to sell its stake to the entertainment giant back in 2019.
At the time the agreement was made, Disney guaranteed that the minimum sale price would be pegged at $27.5 billion, giving Comcast a cut of around $9 billion.
Just last week, Disney chief executive Bob Iger informed company shareholders and executives that he discussed the matter with Comcast executives. He did say, however, that how the Hulu matter ultimately concludes is completely up to Comcast.
Then and Now
When Hulu was founded in 2007, it was owned jointly by several leading media and telecommunications firms. Along with Comcast, the company’s original ownership slate included film producer 20th Century Fox and Time Warner which owns news media entity CNN.
Since then, these companies have come up with their own streaming media platforms. Comcast’s Peacock, in particular, was recently in the news as it pulled out a number of productions from the Hulu slate, specifically shows from NBC and BravoTV.
That said, no one really knows what direction Hulu may take once it’s sold to Disney, but Disney+’s summer 2023 streaming slate already includes several Hulu originals, which is how such productions are streamed overseas. It is expected that like the recent merger between HBO and Discovery+, the two media applications will be merged into a single app.
Since this time last year, Disney+. Hulu, and sports streaming service ESPN+ have trimmed losses by around $228 million, a 13% drop from its losses in 2022.