Disney has announced its plan to acquire Comcast's one-third stake in Hulu for an anticipated $8.61 billion, consolidating the streaming service entirely under Disney's ownership upon

completion later this year.

In a brief statement, Disney emphasized that this acquisition aligns with its streaming objectives, putting an end to prolonged speculations about the future of Hulu. Nevertheless, an appraisal process to determine the streaming service's fair value is expected to conclude in 2024 before a final sale price is agreed upon.

Disney's pursuit to secure the remaining shares of Hulu commenced in 2019, following an agreement with Comcast that valued Hulu at no less than $27.5 billion.

Disney's CEO, Bob Iger, openly expressed the company's intention to acquire the remaining shares of the streaming service earlier this year, signaling Disney's strategic shifts in its media business. The company has considered the possibility of selling its ABC division and actively seeks a strategic partner for ESPN, as it transitions from linear television to a streaming-focused business model.

Hulu, a subscription-based streaming platform, was established in 2007 with joint ownership by media conglomerates, including 21st Century Fox, Comcast, and Time Warner, CNN's former parent company. In recent years, these companies have shifted their focus towards their individual streaming platforms.

In 2020, NBCUniversal launched its subscription-based streaming platform, Peacock, and Comcast began migrating content from Hulu to the new platform, incorporating Bravo and NBC shows.

Hulu, however, has sustained growth with a series of successful original movies and shows, such as "The Handmaid's Tale," "The Bear," and "Reservation Dogs." It has garnered more than 48 million subscribers, despite ongoing price increases.

Disney has also bundled Hulu within its larger portfolio of streaming services, offering it at a discounted rate as part of a comprehensive package that includes Disney+ and ESPN+. Hulu has emerged as a valuable asset in Disney's mission to make its streaming services profitable and attract a substantial subscriber base.

Disney's CEO, Bob Iger, articulated this strategy, stating, "It's clear that a combination of the content that is on Disney+ with general entertainment is a very positive, is a very strong combination from a subscriber perspective."

Disney is scheduled to release its quarterly earnings results on November 8. Photo by Cd637, Wikimedia commons.