A new clue to whether or not The Walt Disney Co. will buy Comcast’s minority stake in Hulu may have surfaced as Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that Hulu content would be available to subscribers through the Disney Plus app.
The announcement, made during Disney’s second-quarter earnings call Wednesday, prompted analysts to ask if Disney had made a decision to buy the 30% Hulu stake, which is worth about $9 billion. Disney and Comcast have an agreement that gives Comcast to sell the stake to Disney in 2024. Disney can also initiate buying the stake from Comcast.
When Iger returned as Disney’s CEO last year, he said that everything was on the table as far as Hulu was concerned.
“I have now had another three months to really study this carefully and figure out what is the best path for us to grow this business and it is clear that a combination of the content that is on Disney Plus with general entertainment is a very positive, is a very strong combination from a subscriber perspective, from a subscriber acquisition subscriber retention perspective and also from an advertiser's perspective,” Iger said.
But he warned that didn’t mean a decision had been made regarding buying Comcast’s Hulu stake.
“I don't want to be in any way predictive in terms of when or how that ends up,” Iger said.
“I can say we have had some conversations with them already they have been cordial and they are aimed at being constructive but I can't tell you and I can't really say where they end up, only to say that there seems to be real value in having general entertainment combined with Disney plus and ultimately Hulu is that solution. We are bullish about that," he said.
Broadcasting & Cable Newsletter
The smarter way to stay on top of broadcasting and cable industry. Sign up below.
Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.