Hulu is one of the biggest streaming services available in the US, with 41M+ subscribers and growing. It is majorly owned by “The Walt Disney Company” with 67% share and Comcast as the other major shareholder with 33% share. It has been majorly present in the US, focusing on bringing its original programming and acquisition from other content partners, live-TV, and more. Perhaps one of the biggest strengths of Hulu is that it offers premium plans with support for a cheaper Ad-supported plan with Add-ons for HBO, Cinemax, Starz, and Showtime. We will discuss history and tell you Who Owns Hulu TV here in this article.
History of Hulu
Its website went live in 2007 with no content, asking users to register for beta invitations through email. Hulu officially launched on March 12, 2008. Hulu started its advertising campaign with the Super Bowl, which was a big hit. In fact, Hulu saw a huge engagement in its platform. Disney brought its content from ABC and Disney Channel. The number of offerings from the platform continued to increase, including shows from cable and satellite television programming, with some of them protesting for Hulu’s high subscription fees to keep the shows on Hulu.
Hulu once tried to sell its company in 2011 but dropped the idea due to lower than expected bidding proposals. Hulu announced deals with Fox, The CW, Showtime, and other networks over the advent of time, with some of them leaving and others staying depending on time. It seemed right enough as this helped them in gaining ground against other rivals, including Netflix. NBC Universal will be continuing its deal till 2024 though they can take their exclusive deals back from the platform starting 2022.
Under Disney’s leadership, Hulu underwent a major restructuring, such as terminating the role of a CEO for Hulu. Instead, the top executive at Hulu needs to report directly to The Walt Disney Television leads from 2020. Disney has reaffirmed from time to time that they will continue making investments in Hulu and Disney+ for their growth. In April 2021, Disney signed a deal with Sony Pictures to let them stream their titles on Hulu and Disney+ after they leave Netflix. Popular titles including Spiderman and Jumanji will be coming to the platform soon.
Who Owns Hulu TV?
Hulu was founded as a joint venture(partnership) between NBC Universal and News Corporation. It was later joined by The Walt Disney Company(30% share) and Providence Equity Partners(10% share) as other major shareholders. Hulu has a history of changing ownership. Since 2007, the company has undergone many changes. Many shareholders have come and left since its inception. The current major shareholder is “The Walt Disney Company,” with its complete control over the entity. In 2013, the shares of News Corporation were brought by 21st Century Fox. Later, Fox shares were purchased by Disney in a deal that would cost $71.3 billion.
Similarly, AT & T sold its 10% stake in the company the next month. Now Hulu has two major owners- Disney and Comcast. Disney announced in 2019. Then it has taken complete control over Hulu, with Comcast becoming a silent partner. It was announced that Disney would buy the complete share of Comcast by 2024 to have a 100% stake in the company for a valuation estimated at $27.5 billion at that time.
Currently, both companies are in a feud with each other over no international rollout of Hulu and valuation. Hulu is now a complete property of Disney company, and they are fully entitled to decide for the best or worst of its future. Hulu is the third big streaming service for Disney, including Disney+ and ESPN+. Disney+ focuses on General Entertainment, ESPN+ for live streaming, and Hulu for mature content(shows and movies). Hence Hulu is one of the most important properties for Disney in the coming time. It comes with its own set of challenges like global expansion.
It is expected that by 2024, Disney will get a full 100% stake in Hulu, though I believe that this would happen sooner than later. It would be in the best interest of both Comcast and Disney to settle this issue for once and final. Disney has big plans for Hulu. Indeed, it’s just under the wrap. Hulu can be Disney’s biggest weapon in its fights against Netflix and a growing list of other streaming services.
Key Positions in Hulu
Currently, the most important person in Hulu is the President. The current president of Hulu is Kelly Campbell and reports directly to “The Walt Disney Company.” Here more about key executives in the company,
- Kelly Campbel: She is the current President of Hulu, serving under DMED. She has also worked as Chief Marketing Officer for Hulu previously, where she was responsible for its growth and publicity.
- Jessica Casano Antonellis: She is the current serving Vice President of Hulu and Disney+. She is the one who is responsible for planning and discussing future opportunities for the two companies.
- Scott Donaton: He is the Senior Vice President at Hulu. He also serves as the Head of Marketing. He is one of those who is full of experience and capable of handling new challenges. He is responsible for subscriber growth, engagement, partnerships, insights, and brand image. He has also won various advertising awards for his contribution.
Hulu comes up with its own original shows along with other shows made by different networks and distributed on their platform exclusively and non-exclusively. It offers up to 75+ channels under its Hulu Live TV Channel plan.
Further, it offers shows from popular networks including ABC, FOX, CBS, etc. Good quality shows are present on the platform. Most of the content is aimed at a mature audience. Here are some of the best Hulu originals:
- The Handmaid’s Tale
- Little Fires Everywhere
- Future Man
- Castle Rock
- Mrs. America
Some of the most unique facts regarding Hulu are as follows:
- Most of the users of Hulu are young audiences falling in the 20-30 years bracket.
- Yahoo was once on the urge to buy Hulu in 2011. Unfortunately, Hulu turned it down, citing less pricing.
- The Handmaid’s Tale is one of the best shows on the platform. It has received 33 Emmy Nominations till now.
- Japan is the only other country where Hulu is legally available apart from the US.
- Hulu is the third behind viewership hours in the US, with YouTube and Netflix being number 2 and 1.
- It was founded in 2008, just one year after Netflix, the biggest OTT platform.
- Hulu.com was first a personal blog owned by Amy Hung, started in 1999. The website offered photos from her family and friends. It was active till 2007 when NBC purchased the website from her at an undisclosed big amount.
Future and International Layout
It seems that for the time being, the international rollout of Hulu is paused. Disney earlier expressed interest in rolling out Hulu in 2021. The same was side kicked for Star+. A network was bought from FOX as a part of the $71.3 Million deal. Disney thinks that Star+ would have a better appeal since it has a more widespread presence worldwide due to the Star brand. Insider sources say it would be causing more than $4 billion for Hulu rollout, and since it was already under losses, Disney decided to choose Star.
Hulu is expected to get more budget for its upcoming programming. The content acquisition would continue to be a major thing at Hulu, with many more movies and shows to come on the VOD service. With its increasing subscriber base and higher revenue per user, it seems that the future of Hulu is bright under Disney.
Hulu is one of Disney’s assets poised for growth. It still has a vast potential to grow, and Its owner, Disney, would be trying to make sure that it succeeds. Whoever would be the owner of this streaming giant in the coming future, one thing is sure that it would be a blessing to make such an acquisition of global significance.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is Hulu available worldwide?
As of now, Hulu is only available in the US and Japan. You can’t access it from outside as it is against Hulu terms, and the content on the platform comes with region-specific rights. Disney is not thinking of its international layout for the time being in the wake of Star+, a new VOD service poised for Latin America launch in 2021.
- Will Hulu be sold by The Walt Disney Company soon?
As of now, Disney is probably going to continue its ownership by buying the remaining shares from Comcast soon.
- Does Disney have full control over Hulu?
Disney owns a 66% share of Hulu, making it a major partner. It has complete control over it and can decide regarding its programming, content acquisition, plans, restructuring, etc.
- Who was the original founder of Hulu?
Hulu was originally a joint venture between NBC Universal and News Corporation. It was later joined by The Walt Disney Company and Providence Equity Partners.
- What power does Comcast have in Hulu?
Comcast has seized its control over Hulu and agreed to a complete sellout of its 33% in the company by 2024 at market valuation. So, Comcast has no ruling authority in Hulu.