Last week during the Walt Disney Company’s earnings call, one of the many announcements that made headlines was the plan to combine Hulu and Disney Plus on a single app. This has led some to speculate whether or not, Disney is planning to buy Hulu.
A History of Hulu
Hulu was formed in 2007 as a joint venture between Fox and NBC. The Walt Disney Company and minority partner Time Warner eventually joined in as traditional companies sought a presence in streaming services in the early days of Netflix. But over time, Disney has increased their stake in Hulu. Currently, the Walt Disney Company owns 67% of Hulu, while the remaining 1/3 is owned by Comcast. According to various media sources including The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline, it sounds like talks have already been underway and Comcast CEO Brian Roberts is open to the idea.
In the past, Disney CEO Bob Iger has said the following, “I mentioned on the first earnings call that I did [in February] when I came back that everything was on the table, and in fact everything was on the table. I’ve now had another three months to really study this carefully and figure out what is the best path for us to grow this business.”
As it stands, both studios are struggling with their numbers and also have an ongoing writer’s strike that complicates their finances and fiscal goals.
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Another Big Purchase By Disney?
Although some think it makes sense for the Walt Disney Company to buy out the remaining shares of Hulu, it also makes others consider CEO Bob Iger’s previous spending sprees in the past. As CEO (in his first term), he acquired Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and Fox, adding multiple franchises and content to add to the Disney Plus streaming service. However, some of these purchases, specifically Fox, has been criticized by some.
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Whether Disney CEO Bob Iger decides to move forward or not remains to be seen. However, if the subscription numbers continue to drop for Disney Plus, the entertainment company must do something.