Hello, Quartz Index readers!
Hulu has been around for nearly as long as Netflix has been streaming video and it still hasn’t found its edge. It has a large back catalog of old TV shows and movies. It recently launched a live-TV bundle. And it’s been getting noticed for more original programming like The Handmaid’s Tale.
But having four legacy media parents—Disney, Fox, Comcast, which own 30% each, and Turner, which owns 10%—has kept it from going all-in on any of these things, leaving it behind Netflix, which has invested billions to establish itself as a premium content player, and Amazon Prime, which has millions of shipping subscribers to draw from.
That could all change now that Disney has agreed to buy Fox’s stake, giving it control of the streaming service.
If the deal goes through, Hulu will be one of three subscription streaming services led by Disney: Hulu for adults, the Disney-branded streaming service set to launch in 2019 for families, and ESPN’s subscription service for sports fan.
Disney is betting consumers want more choice in streaming (as if there wasn’t enough already). And it sounds as though it would offer the option to bundle the platforms as well. The company also hopes having control of Hulu will help the streaming service compete against larger rivals, and give it some direction.
This, of course, assumes Disney gets its way with Fox, and Hulu. But if the AT&T and Time Warner deal has taught us anything, it’s not to take mega-media mergers for granted.—Ashley Rodriguez