The Walt Disney Company, parent to ABC, has joined NBC Universal, News Corp. and Providence Equity Partners as an equity owner of Hulu, the online aggregator of video content. The agreement means ABC full-length shows like “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Private Practice” and “Scrubs” will be added to popular episodes from the Fox and NBC networks on a single Web site, providing further competition to YouTube and other video-centric sites.
Founded in March 2007, Hulu is currently co-owned by NBC Universal, News Corp. and Providence Equity Partners.
Robert A. Iger, president and CEO at The Walt Disney Company, said making its programs available on Hulu is part of its effort to meet the constantly evolving viewing habits of its viewers. Classic series from ABC’s library will also be available to Hulu visitors, along with short-form content including webisodes, sneak peeks and episode recaps from ABC Entertainment, ABC Family and SOAPnet. ABC’s content will be streamed on Hulu, supported by advertising.
With three major networks and 150 content providers, Hulu is betting that if you make quality content available on the Web and combine it with an intuitive user experience, viewers and advertisers will come. The site claims to be already working with more than 200 advertisers.
The equity transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory review. As an equity partner, Disney will have three seats on the Hulu board. All other current directors from News Corp, NBC Universal and Providence will remain on the Hulu board.
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