Disney and Comcast have struck a deal to allow Disney to take sole control over Hulu. Comcast will remain a silent partner until 2024, at which time either company can trigger a buyout of the 33% equity stake in the hands of Comcast.
There has been a huge amount of criticism directed at the US subscription video on demand service Hulu. This has been so bad that in industry circles the company has been known as Clown Co.
However, Hulu has now become a major challenger to Netflix. Hulu added twice as many US subscribers than Netflix in the 3 months to 31st March 2019. Hulu added 3.8m subscribers in the US market in this period compared to Netflix’s 1.74m additional subscribers.
The total Hulu subscription base is now 25m – which has grown from 6m in 2014. However, the total Hulu subscription base is less than half the 60m subscription base of Netflix.
Hulu’s terrific growth is attributable to acquiring shows from ABC, Fox and NBC.
Another factor is subscription price – the basic viewing plan of Hulu is now $5.99 per month – down from $7.99. On the other hand Netflix has raised its monthly subscription from $10.99 to $12.99.
The deal shows the monstrous appetite for consolidation in the Media World – not much different really to what we are seeing in the Trade World.