Time Warner said it is buying a 10% stake in Hulu for $583 million, joining The Walt Disney Co., 21st Century Fox and Comcast as owners of the joint venture streaming company.
As part of the deal, Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting networks will be carried on the new live streaming services Hulu plans to launch early next year.
With no set-up costs or installation, Hulu’s new service will offer an intuitive and personalized interface and instant access to live and on-demand content, across hundreds of living room and mobile devices.
Time Warner said the investment in Hulu reflects the company’s “continued commitment to supporting innovative digital services that allow consumers to access high-quality content however they want it across a variety of platforms.” Time Warner has already launched its own streaming over-the-top product in HBO Now.
Hulu will continue to offer ad supported and ad free subscription video on demand products to consumers as well as the new streaming service.
“Our investment in Hulu underscores Time Warner’s commitment to supporting and developing new platforms for the delivery of high-quality content and great consumer experiences to audiences around the globe,” said Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes.
“We’re also excited to join Hulu’s other owners in launching a new consumer-friendly package featuring leading networks that will deliver more value to audiences and complement Hulu’s core SVOD offerings. The inclusion of Turner’s networks in Hulu’s new streaming service furthers our efforts to allow consumers to engage with and enjoy our brands across a wide range of platforms and services,” Bewkes said.
On Time Warner's earnings call with analysts Wednesday, Bewkes said that Time Warner will not have an "active role" in managing Hulu, or have a seat on its board. "We like the asset and like it even more if it has better budgets for programming and more resources for platform capabilities," he said.
“This investment from Time Warner marks a major step for Hulu as we continue to redefine television for both consumers and advertisers,” said Mike Hopkins, CEO of Hulu. "Our two companies have long enjoyed a productive relationship - which includes the availability of past seasons of popular Turner shows on our current SVOD offerings – and we are very proud that Turner’s networks will be included in our planned live streaming service.”