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Comcast will keep hands off of Hulu

Wed, 01/19/2011 - 8:26am
Mike Robuck

One of the more interesting end results of Comcast's now-successful bid to own a controlling stake in NBC Universal is that it ended up with a financial stake in over-the-top nemesis Hulu.

According to published reports, Comcast, for now anyway, will keep its newly acquired financial stake in Hulu, but it has vowed to give up NBC Universal's management role in the company.

NBC Universal, along with Disney and Fox, was on Hulu's board of directors, but by vacating its management role, Comcast headed off any appearance of trying to put a stake into the heart of an online video competitor.

On the contrary, now that Comcast is a stakeholder in Hulu, it could have a financial incentive to keep Hulu healthy.

According to a blog posting on The New York Times, Comcast is fine with the new arrangement.

"We continue to have an interest in the growth and advancement of Hulu," said David Cohen, an executive vice president at Comcast, in a conference call with reporters yesterday.

Cohen went on to say that Comcast would continue to provide TV shows and movies to Hulu the same way that Hulu's other stakeholders had.

Comcast could opt to sell its newly acquired stake in Hulu, and if that were the case, the managerial rights would belong to the new owner.

While Hulu's initial, ad-supported model of popular online videos no doubt prompted Comcast to get its own TV Everywhere service up and running, which is called Xfinity TV, Comcast faces more of a direct threat from Netflix, Apple, Amazon and others now that Hulu has started to transition to a subscription-based model.


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