Comcast is in talks to sell its stake in Hulu to Disney, CNBC reported today, citing “people familiar with the matter.”
Comcast currently owns 30% of Hulu, and Disney increased its stake to 60% after acquiring 21st Century Fox last month. While two companies may split up the 9.5% stake that Hulu bought back from AT&T earlier this month, Disney could also try to gain full ownership over the streaming service, which has become a big part of its direct-to-consumer video plans. CNBC notes that even as a minority owner, Comcast still holds some veto power over certain corporate decisions for Hulu, amounting to a bargaining chip for the cable giant.
Publicly, though, Comcast says it still sees the value in owning a chunk of Hulu. In a CNBC appearance on Thursday, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said it’s “very much in everybody’s interest to maintain” ownership, and that “we’re really glad we own a large piece of it.”
What does all this mean for consumers? For now, not much, as sources tell CNBC that Comcast has no plans to pull content from Hulu, even after launching its own NBC-branded streaming service next year. (Likewise, Comcast has suggested it’s in no rush to pull content from other services like Netflix, which will carry The Office until at least 2021.) But if Comcast does walk away from Hulu, the company might have more incentive to move shows over to its own streaming service at a faster clip.
We reached out to Comcast’s NBCUniversal for comment and will update this post if we hear back.