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Disney, News Corp. Up Hulu Talk

2 Mar, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Media giants said to be at odds on the future of the online content aggregator.

The Walt Disney Co. and News Corp. reportedly are discussing their joint stakes in online content aggregator Hulu, including subscription video-on-demand service Hulu Plus.

The talks include the possibility of acquiring the other’s stake and/or selling to a third party, according to The Wall Street Journal, which cited sources close to the situation.

Hulu is co-owned by Disney, News Corp. and NBC Universal (and parent Comcast). News Corp. also owns the WSJ, which lends credibility to existence of negotiations.

Hulu Plus ended 2012 with 3 million subscribers, or about 10% of Netflix’s global base. The privately-held service said it generated $700 million in revenue last year, largely through advertising.

At issue is the future of Hulu in an era of increasingly fragmented consumption of entertainment in the home. Disney reportedly would like Hulu to be ad-supported while News Corp. prefers SVOD and related pay windows. Hulu CEO Jason Kilar has said he would be leaving at the end of the month.

Interestingly, Disney recently signed an exclusive SVOD deal with Netflix for its premium TV rights beginning in 2017.

An update on the situation could occur March 5 when News Corp. COO Chase Carey is slated to address a session of the Deutsche Bank investor event.

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