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Is Disney looking to buy Comcast’s share of Hulu?

It was a short walk for The Walt Disney Company from dipping its toe in the direct-to-consumer streaming service with a minority interest in Hulu, to diving headfirst into the pool. Disney now has ESPN+, will release Disney+ in November, and now owns controlling interest of Hulu. Reports from Industry rags like Variety now indicate Disney wants to own all of Hulu and is in negotiations with Comcast to buy the final share.

If it’s not too late, I have a bargaining chip I hope gets added to the table… the rights to Marvel in theme parks east of the Mississippi, specifically in Orlando. With Marvel, Disney owns the most profitable franchise in Hollywood history, but it’s very limited on what it can do with those characters at its Orlando theme parks.

A contract Marvel signed with a company Comcast now owns (Universal/MCA) before Disney purchased Marvel for $4 billion, gives Universal Studios the exclusive rights to use characters it has now and those in the super hero family. It also prevents Disney from using the Marvel name in its parks in the US and Japan.

Disney has negotiated rights to use some characters from Marvel in its Orlando parks, they’re building a Guardians of the Galaxy attraction in Epcot, but the big names are all off limits.

As much of that contract Disney can claw back right now it should. Disney has a few pieces of its recent purchase of 21st Century Fox it might be able to sweeten the pot with too.

Thinking from the perspective of a Hulu customer, I’m not thrilled with the idea of Disney buying out Comcast’s share. I like that I can get more than just Disney owned shows on their. Adding in shows from NBC, SyFy and other Universal owned channels.

1 thought on “Is Disney looking to buy Comcast’s share of Hulu?”

  1. I think it is more likely that Comcast is looking to sell. With that in mind, they know it makes sense for Disney to be the purchaser. And I like the idea of throwing in some rights to use Marvel characters, as it appears Disney has leverage in this deal (in that Comcast needs it more than Disney does).

    If they do purchase it, however, (a) they obviously need to honor contracts (or buy them out), and (b) I think it would make sense for Disney to continue to pay distribution rights for other properties on Hulu. I am not sure there is enough non-D+ appropriate content at this point to do otherwise.

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