Last week we learned that Disney was in talks to license some of its content to other streaming services. Now Rich Greenfield from LightShed says he thinks that Disney could be exploring the sale of Hulu.
Hulu originally started as a joint effort between ABC, NBC, FOX, and even WarnerMedia. A few years ago, Disney agreed to buy 21st Century Fox, including its share of Hulu. This gave Disney majority control of Hulu with a 60% share in the company. After that WarnerMedia was bought out, and NBCUniversal agreed to give its board seats to Disney in exchange for a deal that would see Disney fully buy Hulu in 5 years.
In recent years NBCUniversal has made it clear they would like to buy Hulu from Disney as Peacock has not grown as it was first expected to. NBCUniversal did say, though, that they expect Disney to finish the deal to buy its stake in Hulu sometime in 2023.
Now though, Disney has been reconsidering its streaming strategy with a focus on making it profitable. Currently, Disney+ is not profitable and is not expected to be profitable until 2024 or 2025.
So who would be interested in buying Hulu from Disney? A growing number of companies have been looking get into streaming, and Hulu’s live TV service may be the most attractive part of Hulu.
NBCUniversal is an obvious option to buy Hulu for its desire to improve its Peacock subscriber numbers.
Investor groups have also been looking at how they can get into streaming. Multiple large investment groups would likely be interested in buying up Hulu if the price was right.
It is also very possible that Disney will want to keep Hulu. Even if it moves most of Hulu’s on-demand library to Disney+, Hulu’s Live TV service is one of the largest around. Keeping Hulu, even if it is mostly a live TV service, could be very profitable for Disney.
For now, we will have to wait and see what Disney does, but the world of streaming is changing. The upcoming Discovery+ and HBO Max merger is likely to be only the start of what could be a year full of changes in the streaming landscape.