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Does Disney own Hulu?

So you heard about Disney’s stake in Hulu, and now you’re wondering who owns Hulu? The Walt Disney Company acquired a one-third stake in Hulu in 2019. To break it down, Disney has a 67% share in Hulu, while Comcast is the next biggest shareholder with a 33% share.

Does Disney Own Hulu? Hulu’s complex ownership arrangement was streamlined when Disney took the controlling interest in the company through the acquisition of 21st Century Fox in an agreement with AT&T, which purchased Time Warner in 2018. Comcast controls the remaining share. However, Disney has agreed to take complete control of Hulu in 2024, which will finally answer who owns Hulu in one word: Disney! 

Hulu’s ownership structure featuring Disney and Comcast (NBCUniversal’s parent company) deserves a bit more explanation for you to understand who owns Hulu. So without further ado, let’s dive in! 

Does Disney Own Hulu: Are more ads in our future?

Consolidation in the media has increased due to cord-cutting, giving major media firms access to customers instantly. Even so, not everyone can afford several different streaming services. 

Growing a platform’s subscriber base may be accomplished through advertising. Hulu already has an “ad-supported” model of on-demand content with advertising that is available to everyone at nominal cost. 

Disney, which acquired majority ownership of Hulu, launched its own subscription service Disney+, spotlighting both streaming services in its pitch to ad buyers.

Disney is wooing ad partners

Our first hint at Disney’s plan for Hulu advertising was dropped in 2019 when Disney sent a video to its ad partners. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, rather than hosting the typical spring upfront presentation at New York’s Lincoln Center, Disney went the virtual route by emailing advertisers a 45-minute film highlighting its different brands while enforcing social distance. 

“Disney is a pioneer in connecting Generation Family with Generation Stream,” American Idol host Ryan Seacrest stated in one of Disney Advertising Sales Virtual Roadshow’s segments. As he presented, a carousel of iPads, laptops, and phones appeared on the screen, along with a clip from Disney’s (Disney+) flagship show, The Mandalorian. It was an odd scene at a broadcast, but it demonstrated how conventional media giants like Disney embrace online streaming with open arms. 

Seacrest did not stop at the montage of visuals; he went on to say that “Hulu’s younger, more engaged audience watches TV differently. More bingeing, more devices, more options. They expect personalized, on-demand options that give them choice and control.” 

Well, the edgy statement surely paves the way for “targeted advertising” on Hulu. We won’t be wrong in predicting a full-blown advertising strategy that Disney will soon implement on Hulu. So, dear streamers, brace yourselves! 

Hulu is already bringing ad-tinted revenue

According to a recent eMarketer projection, Hulu’s ad revenue exceeded $1.5 billion in 2019 and is on course to hit $2.7 billion by 2021. The ability to deliver programming through the internet gives advertisers a competitive edge in market reach. In other words, despite COVID-19’s chaos in the ad market, ad purchasers may target specific demographics or geographic locations more precisely on Hulu. 

Advertisement industry professionals and Wall Street analysts all agree that the industry is transitioning from conventional commitments to streaming purchases, with a mix of both in the coming years.

In 2020, Disney reported that the Hulu subscriber base had reached 32.1 million, up from 30.4 million in the previous quarter and 25.2 million annually. Of them, about two-thirds receive a basic version with ads at $6.99 a month, and the remaining subscribers pay $12 a month to stream shows ad-free.  A Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ combo for $13 a month seems popular, but Disney has not provided specifics on how many users subscribe to the package.

Given the stats, most Hulu subscribers are on the ad plan, making Hulu wide open for advertisement influx by Disney. Since the platform is already golden with revenue from existing ad partners, it won’t be an arduous task for Disney+ to add more ad partners. 

Disney is betting big on Hulu’s advertising strategy

Disney wants to end the — Who owns Hulu — debate by claiming complete ownership in 2024, and the reason is their strategy to push Hulu towards wider advertising gains. 

Disney touts that Hulu extends its reach, with under-35-year-old viewers streaming twice as much content as those over 35. The majority of people who see an ad on Hulu never see it on traditional television. Hulu’s live content is a prominent selling feature, as seen by the fact that the service already has over 3 million paying customers. 

Disney’s Sales Chief, Rita Ferro, integrates all of Disney’s products – Hulu, ESPN, and Disney+ — under one offer to ad buyers. Ferro aims at pushing one unified ad product to the marketers. The strategy echoes Disney’s plan of wooing ad clients to buy one product across Disney and Hulu. 

What Does This Mean for our Favorite Binge-Worthy Shows

Hulu is a priority for Disney executives. It’s the ideal counterpoint to Disney+, the company’s new streaming service, which will continue to be family-friendly. As Disney CEO Bob Iger stated in one of their public conferences, the company wants complete ownership of Hulu to do much more with the platform without needing to solicit advice from Comcast. Seeing that Disney is collaborating with businesses like Comcast and WarnerMedia to keep their content on Hulu is also glaringly obvious. 

To its favor, Disney has begun to make adjustments at Hulu after initially letting the streaming service run its course. Hulu’s FX on Hulu hub went up in March after Disney Streaming Head Kevin Mayer notified the company’s workers in February that all departments now report to Disney. 

Disney gets FX & Some Best Shows

Among the most lauded television networks, FX was acquired by Disney as part of the Fox acquisition. For the first time, all Hulu members get unlimited access to the channel’s on-demand programming, including hit programs like Sons of Anarchy or American Horror Story: Hotel. 

Here’s what else we learned: Hulu will be the only place to see four new FX shows that won’t be airing on television. The sci-fi miniseries Devs, directed by Alex Garland and starring Nick Offerman, was the first to air in early March on Syfy. 

Disney+Hulu’s most crucial stipulation is that Comcast, the parent company of NBCUniversal, would keep NBC series like “Saturday Night Live” and “The Office” on Hulu for the next five years. 

Dear streamers, Disney will experiment with Hulu –  and it’s good

So, what does it all mean? Well, we think that Hulu will soon become a testing ground for Disney. It can launch and add different genres to the platform, finally getting away from its “family” tag. Imagine all the conventional and family-oriented content with Disney+ while Hulu gets the edgy and Netflix-rivalling content. And of course, generation-defining and favorite shows like The Office remain too. 

Let’s not forget Hulu Originals

Hulu has its own set of original shows, and it also distributes content from other networks on its platform. Hulu Live TV Channel plan includes up to 75+ channels. 

Additionally, it features programming from well-known networks such as ABC, FOX, and CBS. High-quality shows are also available to stream on Hulu. The majority of the content is geared towards the millennial demographic. Some popular series on Hulu include Castle Rock, The Handmaid’s Tale, Future Man, Mrs. America, and more. 

During the pandemic, we got to see some Hulu-exclusive movie releases as well. One of the best examples is when Sony Pictures decided to release Happiest Season starring Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis on Hulu instead of in cinemas. The movie turned out to be a profitable deal for Hulu as it became the Most-Watched Original Film Debut on Hulu. 

The Disney Bundle

In the Disney Plus Bundle, you get access to Disney Plus, ESPN, and Hulu. You receive all three services for one low fee, with one login to access all three platforms.

The Disney Plus Bundle
The Disney Plus Bundle

All things Disney are included in Disney Plus, as the name indicates. This includes some of the greatest franchises ever created — The Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, The Muppets, all of Pixar’s films, and Nat Geo — just to name a few when it comes to this behemoth of a streaming service. Additionally, Disney Premier Access is available, allowing viewers to watch new releases (such as Black Widow) the day after their theatrical release for $30.

Hulu started as a platform to watch new episodes of TV shows as they aired or shortly after. However, Hulu has grown into its small niche of original series and films in more recent years. The Handmaid’s Tale, Castle Rock, and The Great are some of the best Hulu original series. Hulu’s streaming options also include live sports, HBO Max, Cinemax, and other pay-TV providers. 

There are a variety of well-produced studio shows and documentaries, such as E:60 and 30 for 30, on ESPN Plus, featuring live events like all UFC fights. Additional benefits include seamless access to ESPN fantasy league tools and unique articles written by some of the most respected sportswriters in the world. 

How much does the Disney Bundle cost?

Check out the pricing and plans for Disney Bundle below:

Disney Bundle Plans Price
Disney Bundle (Hulu with ads)$13.99/month
Disney Bundle (Hulu, without ads)$19.99/month
Disney Bundle (Hulu with ads + Live TV)$72.99/month
Disney Bundle (Hulu, no ads + Live TV)$78.99/month

Will Hulu Play Internationally

The question that pops up more than “Who owns Hulu” is, Will Hulu play internationally? In simpler terms, will Hulu get launched outside the US?

In 2020, Iger (Executive Chairman of The Walt Disney Company) hinted that Hulu would be available in other countries next year if everything went well. However, with plans to turn Star into a separate worldwide streaming service, that looks increasingly unlikely. Adding two new streaming services over Disney+, which is currently expanding globally, is illogical. And CEO Bob Chapek’s remarks on the earnings conference appeared to end any plans for a global Hulu service.

While Hulu aggregates content from third parties, Chapek stated that the Star service would house Disney-owned programming like ABC Studios, Fox TV, and FX at the earnings conference. According to Chapek, the Hulu brand is unknown outside the United States, and Hulu doesn’t have content licensed overseas. That means that if it moved Hulu outside of the United States, Disney would have to rebuild everything from scratch. Hulu’s ad business will also be difficult to expand to other markets globally.

Together with Star’s dominance in markets like India, these factors explain why Disney is promoting the Star brand rather than Hulu.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you know who owns Hulu and what plans Disney seemingly has in store for the US-based streaming platform, let’s answer some more burning questions. 

How Much Does Disney own of Hulu?

Hulu LLC, a Disney and Comcast joint venture, owns Hulu. As a result of Disney’s $71 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox, Disney now owns 67 percent of Hulu. Hulu is 33% owned by Comcast. However, Disney is expected to own the entire stake in Hulu by 2024. 

Who currently owns Hulu?

Hulu is currently owned by Disney and Comcast, with the majority of the stake (67%) in the hands of Disney and the remaining 33% with Comcast. It is expected that Disney will reign the complete partnership by acquiring the 100% stake by 2024. 

Conclusion 

Hulu is a significant growth asset for Disney. It has enormous growth potential, and Disney will make every effort to see that this growth happens. One thing is sure: whoever ends up owning the streaming service in the future would be worth making it a global platform like Netflix. 

We hope this guide helped you understand — does Disney own Hulu and what stakes are involved in this ownership. Think we left out any detail? Let us know in the comments!

Additionally, if you’re facing the redirection issue with your Hulu account on any media streaming device, then do check out our guide — Hulu Redirected Too Many Times: How to solve!

About Melissa

Hey! I'm Mel, I write the occasional article for Spacehop, amongst other things. I love meeting new people and chatting, so if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask.

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