OMG! When 'Housewives' Storm Off Hulu
The Comcast/Disney power struggle takes a turn as the NBCU library books it
I’m back to writing my weekly column for The Ankler following the conclusion of my five-part American Viewer series. Thanks for all the great feedback and comments, and if you missed it, you can read it here if you are a paid subscriber.
The big streaming story of the last two weeks seems to be the fate of Hulu.
To catch you up, if you haven’t been following — when Disney bought 20th Century Fox in 2019, the sale came with 20th Century Fox’s 33 percent interest in Hulu. Arguably, this was one of the more valuable parts of the acquisition, gaining control of the second or third-place streamer in America. Then, late in 2019 —after buying out AT&T/Warner Media’s 33 percent stake —Disney agreed to buy the rest of Hulu (the last 33 percent) from Comcast in 2024.
Sometimes Wikipedia delivers great publicly available images, and this bar chart of ownership over time helps explain Hulu’s complex ownership structure beautifully:
Let’s reiterate something: Comcast still controls one third of Hulu. Imagine if its executives decided to just pull away and take all its content away from Hulu. That’s what happened over the weekend:
Instead of analyzing another round of Hulu-being-negotiated-in-public between Disney’s Bob Chapek and Comcast’s Brian Roberts, this content shift feels like a bigger deal; news that could damage Hulu (and Disney).
I wrote about Criminal Minds leaving Netflix earlier this summer; this feels equally huge — if not much, much more consequential.
This little-remarked upon departure could have a sneaky big impact on Hulu’s overall usage. While Hulu is doing what it can to offset that, it may not be enough.
In this article I’ll cover:
Which library titles are departing Hulu
Which streaming services have the highest viewership of originals vs. library content
How much viewership did the NBCU library likely drive on Hulu
What Hulu is doing to offset the loss