Disney Buys Into Hulu

Joins NBC Universal and News Corp. on Web TV site
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LOS ANGELES: Disney has agreed to take a 30 percent stake in online video purveyor Hulu, The Wall Street Journal reports. The platform will now carry full episodes of ABC shows in addition to content from NBC and Fox. Fox parent News Corp. and NBC Universal incubated Hulu. Providence Equity partners of Rhode Island has a 10 percent piece from an earlier $100 million investment.

On closing, Disney will provide Hulu with full-length episodes of “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.” All will be streamed with ad support.

Besides NBC and Fox content, Hulu has material from Comedy Central, Lionsgate, MTM, the MTV Networks, National Georgraphic (owned by News Corp.), Paramount, PBS, Sony Pictures Television and Warner Bros.

Disney will have three seats on the Hulu board that will be held by President and CEO Bob Iger; Anne Sweeney, co-chair of Disney media networks and president of the Disney/ABC TV group, and Kevin Mayer, executive vice president of corporate strategy, business development and technology. All other current directors from News Corp, NBC Universal and Providence will remain on the Hulu board. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory review. – Deborah D. McAdams