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Disney looks to acquire larger stake in Hulu

Disney continues to try to acquire most of the OTT streaming service Hulu from its minority owners. Variety reported today that Disney was in talks with AT&T to pick up their 10% stake in Hulu. This would give Disney even more control over the streaming service.

Right now Disney owns 30% of Hulu and once the deal with 20th Century Fox closes, they will acquire 30%. Comcast/NBCUniversal owns another 30% and AT&T owns the remaining 10%. It doesn’t sound like NBCU is ready to sell their stake in the company, but AT&T is more willing right now, probably because they’re getting ready to spin up WarnerMedia, a competitor to Disney+ and Hulu.

While the big news seems to be focused on the eventual arrival of Disney+, Disney’s new Direct-to-Consumer OTT Streaming Service, there’s been a lot less attention on Hulu, a service Disney will have controlling interest over once the 21st Century Fox acquisition is complete. Between the two, Hulu has more potential as a Netflix competitor, since Disney+ will be strictly limited to family friendly, on-brand, content, Disney can put non-Disney branded content, as well as content for more mature audiences on Hulu.

Hulu said that it had more than 25 million subscribers in 2018, a growth rate of about 30% year over year. That’s pretty good. Unlike Netflix, Hulu has an ad supported subscription level bringing in an additional $1.5 billion, the best year yet for the company. Alas, the company is still not making a net-profit, losing $920 million in 2017 and $1.5 billion in 2018 after investments in programming and technology.

Looking at these numbers you have to wonder what the plan is for Disney+? Will it be a money maker or loser for the company?

Are you a current subscriber to Hulu? Will you be subscribing to Disney+ when it is releaed?

Read the entire piece at Variety.