With Disney set to take over a further 30% stake of Hulu when it completes its purchase of 21st Century Fox, rising its control of the streaming network to 60%. It is now looking to gain more control as AT&T have said its considering selling WarnerMedia’s 10% stake in Hulu, which is valued as much as $930 million, as part of shedding nonstrategic assets to pay down its massive debt load.
This was revealed during the telco’s investor day briefing on Thursday and with WarnerMedia getting ready to launch its own subscription VOD service in late 2019 featuring content from HBO, CNN, TNT, TBS and Warner Bros movie and television units.
The new streaming service from AT&T will vary from Netflix or Disney+, as it will include three tiers of service: an entry-level package focused on movies, a premium tier with original programming and the highest tier will include existing content, as well as licensed content from other providers. This would offer even more competition to Disney+, Hulu and Netflix.
If this sale goes through, Disney would then own 70% stake of Hulu. Comcast own the remaining 30%, but is also expected to sell its share to Disney, following it beating Disney to Sky. So Comcast might want to offset the cost of that purchase by selling Hulu. Comcast did state in September that they were interested in keeping its stake in Hulu.
Disney is planning on keeping Hulu as a adult-oriented network, incorporating content from ABC and Fox. With many of Fox’s franchises like Alien, Predator, Family Guy, Simpson’s and much more fitting in with this vision.
This would allow Disney’s new streaming service, Disney Plus, to focus on general entertainment including its brands like Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar and National Geographic. Disney are also planning on offering a bundled option with its three streaming services.
Disney chief Bob Iger told investors in the last quarterly results earlier this month that Disney intends to invest in Hulu and expand the service internationally, but he didn’t provide any details further details. Which would make sense since until they have control over Hulu, they can’t move forward.
When are you expecting Disney to take full control of Hulu?