Like many individuals today, you probably watch television via a streaming platform. In fact, you probably have an account for Netlix, Disney+, etc. Certainly, streaming television has changed how Hollywood operates for the foreseeable future. One of those very streaming platforms is Hulu. As far as you know Hulu is just another video streaming platform that has all of your favorite shows on it. Well, do you know when it started? Who started it? Who owns Hulu now? Take a look below into the world of Hulu and how it came to be.
The Beginning of Hulu
Formation of Hulu
Hulu was formed by a group of businesspeople in the early 2000s. Some of these people include former CEO of Miramax Films Mike Lang. It wasn’t until March 2006 that the streaming platform had been announced.
Hulu comes from Mandarin Chinese, specifically two words. The first CEO of Hulu, Jason Kilar, states that the name came from an old Chinese proverb. Hulu is Mandarin for “gourd.” The creators of Hulu thought that was a good name as it had meaning behind it as gourds are seen as containers of valuable things.
The Early Years of Hulu
As Hulu was being created, Providence Equity Partners (PEP) gave $100 million in equity for a tenth of the stakes. Disney would follow suit and get on the board of directors as well. Disney also stated that they would put their content on Hulu.
Hulu’s name would not be chosen until August 2007, around the same time that Jason Kilar was made CEO. When the website was launched, no shows were available. Instead, they asked for emails to sign up for the testing.
Hulu began campaigning starting with the Super Bowl. Then, it was released to the public on March 12, 2008.
By early 2010, Kilar stated that they had made a profit in just a couple of quarters and would make $100 million by the summer. In the first month of 2010, Hulu recorded around 900 million streams a month.
The Later Years of Hulu
Over the next few years, Hulu would go through some changes. For instance, in October 2012, PEP sold its stake and left the board. Then, after five years, Kilar left. A former network president named Mike Hopkins replaced him in October 2013.
Three years later and in August 2016, Time Warner bought a stake in the company and had 10%. Another three years later and in April 2019, Warner Media sold their stake to concentrate on their own platform, HBO Max.
Under New Management – Who Owns Hulu?
The Disney Buyout
Disney bought 21st Century Fox in March 2019. This gave Disney a 60% majority on the streaming platform. After AT&T sold its stock, Disney increased to 67%. Comcast, the only other stakeholder, bowed out and made a deal with Disney.
In May 2019, Disney had full ownership of Hulu. Disney’s CEO Bob Iger explained that this would allow more investment into original content as well as make the streaming service even better.
Hulu Under Disney
A couple of months later in July, Disney restructured the hierarchy of Hulu and put their writing teams under Walt Disney Television. They made so many changes that at the beginning of 2020, Disney removed the CEO role. Now, executives would report to Walt Disney Television.
In 2021, Comcast made an accusation that Disney was failing in regard to the international factor of Hulu. Disney instead put their own brand of Star to the Disney bundle rather than Hulu in some international markets. A couple of months later the Disney CEO, Bob Chapek suggests that Hulu could be added to the Disney bundle as it could decrease churn that can be seen individually from the streaming services.
In September 2021, Hulu made a one-dollar increase to their prices. Later in the fall, Disney and WarnerMedia reached an agreement that allowed certain films to stream on both of their platforms.
Later, in March 2022, NBC’s Peacock began to remove much of its own content to help fill its library.
Hulu has not faced as many ups and downs as its competitors. Perhaps it’s because they were an early frontrunner for the streaming industry, much like the rise of Netflix and the critically endangered Blockbuster. Yet, hopefully, we have cleared up your question of who owns Hulu.
Most have criticized that Disney has amassed too much under their umbrella and has left scraps for the rest. Others fear that it could lead to another monopoly like in the old days. Regardless, one can hope that Disney does not bite off more than they can chew and that the rest of us can enjoy the great content that Hulu has to offer.