Now That Hulu's A Hit, Disney Wants In

Disney’s back at the Hulu negotiating table, PaidContent says.  The message to News Corp. and NBC?  Give us a major equity stake like you guys have, and you can have ABC content.

Hulu-the-company needs this deal desperately, because if it is to survive as a standalone entity, it needs to reduce the chokehold NBC and News Corp have over it.  It also needs to stagger its content deals so it doesn’t get threatened with extinction every two years when the renegotiations with News Corp and NBC come up.

So Hulu, presumably, would love to hook Disney by granting it an equity stake on par with  those held by its founding partners (currently 45%).  From NBC and News Corp’s perspective, however, this will be a non-starter.  They took the risk, they stuck their necks out, and now that Hulu’s cool Disney wants a freebie?  No deal.

Disney might get a 10%-15% stake over time if it throws in ESPN, et al, but we’d be surprised to see more than that.  And Disney would presumably only sign up to share its content if News Corp and NBC extend their own content deals for another 2 years on reasonable terms.

Staci Kramer, PaidContent: The Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS) Company could wind up with an equity stake in Hulu in exchange for adding ABC programming to the NBC Universal-News Corp joint venture, a source familiar with the situation tells paidContent. It’s not clear how much of Disney’s television programming is involved beyond ABC—a second source says all Disney content has been discussed but it centres on ABC; other possibilities could include ESPN and, if not the Disney Channel, some offshoots. The discussions, dormant for a while, have picked up again recently and are described as “serious” by both sources.  Keep reading >

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