One of the last of these limitations was how much control Comcast could have over Hulu. NBCUniversal was one of the early owners of Hulu, but part of the DOJ approval was a limitation on what Comcast could do with their 30% control over Hulu. Comcast had to agree to give up day-to-day management of Hulu by giving up their board seats. That left FOX with 30% and Disney with 30%, as the other two main companies controlling the day-to-day management of Hulu.
Now the limitations the DOJ put on Comcast’s control of Hulu have ended, and Comcast has added three members to the Hulu board. Yesterday The Hollywood Reporter broke the story that Comcast announced that Universal Filmed Entertainment chairman Jeff Shell, advertising and client partnerships chairman Linda Yaccarino and content distribution chairman Matt Bond to the Hulu board of directors.
Well, Comcast now has members on the Hulu board of directors it won’t get full control of Hulu. Disney and News Corp (FOX) also have management control over Hulu, meaning Comcast cannot just come in and start imposing its will on the service. It also doesn’t mean Comcast will even have an equal voice for long. Disney is in the process of buying FOX’s share of Hulu and will soon have 60% control of Hulu. This means for the first time, Hulu will have a majority owner with Disney controlling 60% of Hulu. Hulu has several non-voting owners including AT&T. As part of a purchase of Time Warner, AT&T has a 10% stake in Hulu, but it is a non-voting share of Hulu.
Don’t look for anything to suddenly change overnight. Change happens slowly, and Comcast only has 30% of the voting power on Hulu’s board.
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