News Corp and Walt Disney reportedly in discussion over Hulu's future

By on March 4, 2013, 7:30 AM

News Corp. and Walt Disney Co. are reportedly in discussion with one another that could ultimately lead to one company buying out the other’s interest in video streaming service Hulu. At present, each entity owns about a third of Hulu meaning whoever walks away with the other’s ownership would end up with a controlling interest in the service according to two people familiar with the situation as reported by Bloomberg.

The issue boils down to how each company thinks Hulu should be operated. News Corp. believes a subscription-based service is the best course of action while Disney prefers an ad-supported business model. Comcast owns the remaining third but due to regulatory restrictions imposed when they purchased NBCUniversal, they aren’t allowed to have any say-so as far as daily operations go.

At current, Hulu operates somewhat in the middle ground, offering a free version in addition to a premium subscription service. Paid subscribers are still subjected to commercial interruption, however.

Compared to similar services like Netflix which boasted just over 27 million streaming subscribers at the end of 2012, Hulu managed just three million paid users during the same time period. It’s more than double what they had during the previous year but compared to Netflix, they still have a ton of ground to make up.

If neither company is able to reach an agreement with the other, it’s entirely possible that both could sell their interests to a third party that may want to take the company in an entirely different direction.

User Comments: 5

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windmill007 said:

When Hulu first started it was great. Then the last few years their was so many commercial it basically started sucking. Then they started putting shows only under the paid subscription and you still have ads. Someone needs to go back to the drawing boards. Ads suck so I was willing to pay till I found out you still have ads. Uh no. And I think many people think the same things. They better change because it could be a good service otherwise.

Guest said:

I can attest to the larger amounts of ads. I use to watch hulu around when it first came out. 30 minute shows were about 23 to 24 minutes on hulu with about a minute or two being adds. However now you have at least one ad where the commercial break normally is in the show. No thanks.

Even with that I think it would be a big mistake to change the current model. If you go just add support you will lose a lot of the premium members. If you go sub only you better not show any ads for it to work.

Sniped_Ash said:

The ads are what made me not subscribe after the trial month. I'm paying for a product and a service, not for ads.


Yeah I'm not paying for commercials. Moving on...

Guest said:

Well what was said in article that New corp wants subscription and Disney wants Ads..

News corp should buy out Disney,then without Disney NO more ads, I would think.

That's the reason I assume that Hulu Plus has Sub + Ads , to make both party's happy..

Just keep ads on the Free Hulu or change it over like Netflix .. One price for all..


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