Who Owns Hulu?

In a $71 billion-dollar deal, Disney acquired 21st Century Fox, and with that, it also doubled its stake in Hulu, bringing it from 30% to 67%, thus giving The Walt Disney Company full control over Hulu. This move enabled Disney to strengthen its position in the streaming industry further, to take over Netflix. Therefore, Hulu is part of the Walt Disney Company media empire.

More about the Hulu business model

Hulu is a subscription-based streaming platform, aggregating original TV, entertainment, and series content formats, and it distributes it across its platform. Hulu also offers linear broadcasting and cable channels, with 29 million subscribers in 2019. Hulu licenses the content through several agreements with television studios and makes it mostly available on its subscription-based platform.

Hulu is a streaming platform that serves users in the United States with a library of content from networks such as ABC, NBC, FX, and CBS. The company was founded as a joint venture between News Corporation, NBC Universal, and Providence Equity Partners in 2006.

Hulu launched as a private beta service on October 29, 2007, inviting users to provide their email addresses to a website with no content. Access to the general public was offered in 2008. Although the platform was officially launched one year after Netflix, Hulu’s point of differentiation was that it offered next-day streaming of popular TV network programs for free while also selling access to a catalog of films and television series.

According to a February 2022 earnings report, Hulu enjoys a subscriber base of 45.3 million users in the United States.

Hulu ownership structure

Since its founding, Hulu has undergone several changes in ownership. The first significant change in ownership occurred when The Walt Disney Company took an equity stake via subsidiary ABC Enterprises Inc. in 2009.

Providence Equity Partners sold its initial 10% stake back to the company for $200 million in 2012. Time Warner then acquired a 10% stake four years later, with owner AT&T then selling 9.5% back to Hulu in 2019 to concentrate on its competing service HBO Max. During the intervening years, News Corporation’s stake was transferred to 21st Century Fox as the former company split its publishing and television/film holdings.

In March of 2019, Disney acquired 21st Century Fox which gave the company a 60% majority stake in Hulu. Two months later, the only other major shareholder Comcast entered into an agreement with Disney to sell its 33% stake as early as 2024. The deal terms stipulate that the price of the acquisition will reflect a minimum total equity value of $27.5 billion, which means Comcast can expect around a third of this amount.

Despite the deal not coming into effect for several years, Disney took full ownership of Hulu effective immediately. To that end, Comcast became a silent partner and Hulu became a division of Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International (DCTI).

Disney CEO Bob Iger noted that Disney’s integration of Hulu would enable increased investment toward producing original content and make the platform “even more compelling and a greater value for consumers.

Key takeaways:

  • Hulu is a streaming platform that servers users in the United States with a library of content from networks such as ABC, NBC, FX, and CBS. The company was founded as a joint venture between News Corporation, NBC Universal, and Providence Equity Partners in 2007.
  • Hulu has undergone several changes in ownership over the years, with Providence Equity Partners, Time Warner, Comcast, and AT&T involved with the company at various times. 
  • Disney became the majority shareholder in 2019 when it acquired 21st Century Fox in 2019. The other majority shareholder, Comcast, has also agreed to be acquired as early as 2024 with the company remaining a silent 33% stakeholder until its interests are sold off.

More about the Disney media empire

Disney is main shareholders include Robert A. Iger,  chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of The Walt Disney Company, since 2005. Other significant individual shareholders, as of 2020, comprise Susan E. Arnold, Christine M. McCarthy, Alan N. Braverman. Significant institutional investors comprise Blackrock Inc. with 5.1% and The Vanguard Group with 5.9% respectively.
It would be hard to argue the case for a more recognizable entertainment brand than Disney. Disney is of course synonymous with Walt Disney, but it was Walt and his brother Roy who started the company in 1923 in Burbank, California. Disney content is now broadcast on over 100 channels in 34 different languages across the globe.

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