Disney to join NBC Universal, News Corp as equity owner of Hulu

MUMBAI: The Walt Disney Company through a subsidiary of ABC Enterprises Inc. has agreed to join NBC Universal, News Corporation and Providence Equity Partners as a joint venture partner and equity owner of Hulu, an online aggregator of video content.

Upon closing, the agreement will enhance Hulu’s programming line-up through the expanded online distribution of Disney’s most popular current and library primetime series and library feature films. In particular, full-length episodes of hit current and library programs like Lost, Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Private Practice, Ugly Betty, Scrubs, Greek, Hope and Faith, Less Than Perfect, Wizards of Waverly Place, Phineas and Ferb, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, General Hospital, The View and The Secret Life of the American Teenager will soon be streamed on Hulu on an ad-supported basis.

"From our landmark iTunes deal to our pioneering decision to stream ad supported shows on our ABC.com player, Disney has sought to meet the constantly evolving viewing habits of our consumers, and today’s Hulu announcement is the next important step in that ongoing journey. Disney and Hulu share a focus on delivering the highest-quality entertainment experience and we look forward to working with Hulu to build value for our consumers, our brands and our shareholders," said The Walt Disney Company president and CEO Robert A. Iger.

"We’re honored to welcome the Disney team in our mission to help people find and enjoy the world’s premium content, when, where and how they want it. With the addition of shows like Lost, Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy and many more to Hulu, we continue to aspire to deliver a service that users, advertisers and content owners unabashedly love," said Hulu CEO Jason Kilar.

"Hulu, quite simply, now has the best premium content on the web. With three major networks and over 150 leading content providers providing content, combined with the best video user interface anywhere on the web, Hulu offers consumers the finest premium online video experience available today," said News Corporation president and COO Peter Chernin.

"Hulu has shown that if you make quality content available on the web and combine it with an unbeatable user experience, viewers will come, and so will advertisers. The addition of some of the best content Disney/ABC has to offer will only enhance Hulu’s standing as a top site for high quality video entertainment," said NBC Universal president and CEO Jeff Zucker.

Providence CEO Jonathan M. Nelson added, "Hulu is creating significant value for users, advertisers and content owners. This balance, together with aggregated professional content and an expanding base of over 200 brand advertisers, is establishing Hulu as a compelling online video monetization platform. Hulu is a bright spot in the new media landscape."

As an equity partner, Disney will have three seats on the Hulu Board that will be held by Iger; Disney Media Networks co-chair and Disney/ABC Television Group president Anne Sweeney; and Disney executive vice president, corporate strategy, business development & technology Kevin Mayer. All other current directors from News Corp, NBC Universal and Providence will remain on the Hulu board.