Disney Announces Intent to Own All of Hulu

When Hulu launched in 2007, it was a godsend to early cord-cutters like myself. A partnership between ABC, NBC and Fox, its initial purpose was to let viewers see new episodes of shows on those networks within a week of their original airdate. It wasn't perfect, but it was valuable for people who didn't want to be tied to the broadcast schedule.

Of course it's exploded now, becoming an Emmy-winning juggernaut in its own right. It also offers live TV options for those who still need their sports fix. And its library is pretty vast, with classic TV, a ton of anime and a strong selection of indie movies.

Since Disney acquired 20th Century Fox back in 2019, it's owned two-thirds of the service, with Comcast owning the remaining third. Now, Disney has announced it's coming for the whole pie. They'll pay at least $8.6 billion for that last slice. There's some complicated valuation math and legal mumbo-jumbo to be sorted out in the months to come, but the deal is expected to be finalized early in 2024. For Comcast, they'll gain cash at a time while their own streamer (Peacock) is hemorrhaging money. For Disney, this acquisition gives them full control of a buzzy brand with live TV revenue.

It's an interesting time for Disney. Subscribers to Disney+ have shrunk, they're sitting on a ton of debt, and Marvel Studios seems to be in disarray. Will this help them rebound? It remains to be seen if they'll let the service continue to take chances on bold, creative shows like Reservation Dogs and The Bear (both under the FX on Hulu banner). CEO Bob Iger has signaled the services will be combined at some point. Earlier this year he was rightfully pilloried for his tone-deaf comments about striking WGA members. He's also been ruthless in pulling shows and movies from the service as a cost-cutting measure. Will Hulu's programs be next?


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.