Disney Decides to Dance the Hulu

Apr 30, 2009  •  Post A Comment

Disney is hopping on Hulu, closing a deal to become a joint venture partner and equity owner of the online video aggregator.
The deal, which has been expected for several weeks, unites Disney and its TV networks with NBC Universal, News Corp. and Providence Equity Partners as joint owners of the site. For consumers, it means a host of major series, including “Desperate Housewives,” “Lost,” “General Hospital” and “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” will be available for viewing via Hulu. Disney also will put some of its film library on the site.
ABC had been focusing its online video efforts on its own ABC.com site, a pioneer in online streaming of full-length episodes. While Disney will continue to feed that site, its internal research and data from other parties showed that while ABC.com was reaching core TV viewers, Hulu was bringing in viewers who weren’t hardcore network TV users.
Indeed, Comscore data indicated only 8% of ABC.com users visit Hulu, while just 13% of Hulu users visit ABC.com regularly. Disney thinks there’s room to grow audiences for both ABC.com and Hulu, and to turn casual viewers of its shows into hard-core fans.
“From our landmark iTunes deal to our pioneering decision to stream ad-supported shows on our ABC.com player, Disney has sought to meet the constantly evolving viewing habits of our consumers, and today’s Hulu announcement is the next important step in that ongoing journey,” said Walt Disney Co. President-CEO Bob Iger. “Disney and Hulu share a focus on delivering the highest-quality entertainment experience and we look forward to working with Hulu to build value for our consumers, our brands and our shareholders.”
Hulu CEO Jason Kilar said Disney content would be of great value to Hulu.
“With the addition of shows like ‘Lost,’ ‘Desperate Housewives,’ ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and many more to Hulu, we continue to aspire to deliver a service that users, advertisers and content owners unabashedly love,” Mr. Kilar said.
Jeff Zucker, president and chief executive officer of NBC Universal, said Disney would “only enhance Hulu’s standing as a top site for high-quality video entertainment.”
“Hulu has shown that if you make quality content available on the Web and combine it with an unbeatable user experience, viewers will come, and so will advertisers,” Mr. Zucker added.


  1. Because of Steve Jobs’ ownership stake in both Disney and Apple – I’d expect to see a Hulu channel on AppleTV (akin to the YouTube channel they AppleTV already has) by year end.

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