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Comcast Ready to Ride Hulu Deal To The End

Michael King

Comcast officials were happy with the performance with Hulu during Thursday morning’s third-quarter earnings call.

While earlier indications may have shown that Comcast and Disney may have become more difficult bedfellows in the co-owned streamer, suggesting that one or both companies may desire to exit the joint venture prior to its 2024 sunset date, no sign of that could be found in Thursday’s comments on Hulu’s performance.

“On Hulu, you know, just (a) tremendous increase in value there,” Comcast CFO Michael Cavanagh said. “Obviously, (it’s a) great business that’s participating in, one of the hottest areas — value-increase streaming. So we’re happy to be along for that ride.”

That was a far cry from statements early last month, when Comcast CEO Brian Roberts talked about the tangled rights issues involved with programs on Hulu.

“We inherited a company a decade ago that had committed really all of its content to Hulu. And all that content still resides on Hulu,” Roberts said at last month's Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference. “So the biggest and best, most relevant part of our content, at least from television … are all licensed away, and that can change over time. And of course, we own one-third of (Hulu) … So we’re looking at each successive decision as to how to invest in Peacock versus what I just said previously, continue to invest in other people’s platforms.”

Comcast officials appear to be more accepting of Hulu as a solid part of the company’s streaming landscape, at least through the conclusion of the deal with Disney. They seem ready to ride things out until the end of the deal, but apparently will not close the door if the terms are right.

“(We) like the deal we have, and I think we’re always open for business, but it would be fine if we stayed to the end because I expect the value to keep increasing,” Cavanagh said on the Q3 call. “While we set up our own thing in Peacock, in terms of the deal, it is a couple of years out. Remember we put this together a couple of years ago, and I’m certainly glad we didn’t exit at the time — three or so years ago.”

While Comcast owns a third of Hulu, Disney owns the remaining controlling shares of the streamer and runs the operation. Comcast is set to turn the reins over to Disney in 2024.

Hulu

Hulu is a video streaming service that gives access to thousands of full seasons of exclusive series, hit movies, kids shows, and Hulu Originals like The Handmaid’s Tale.

It offers a good selection of current TV shows and its ad-supported tier is cheaper than both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. You will be able to watch most shows from networks like ABC, NBC, Fox, and cable channels like Bravo, USA Network, FXX, FXM, HGTV, and more.

The service has a Limited Commercials plan for US$6,99 a month, or you can upgrade to their No Ads plan for US$12,99 a month. For US$64,99 a month, you can get Hulu Live TV from major cable channels, live locals and regional sports networks.

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