NBCUniversal is clawing back streaming rights for its current-season TV shows from Hulu — in order to keep them for its own Peacock service. The Comcast-owned programmer officially terminated its next-day TV streaming deal with Hulu, which is majority-owned by Disney.
An NBCU rep confirmed that the Hulu agreement has been terminated. A Disney spokesperson did not immediately provide comment.
The change will not go into effect until the next broadcast TV season, starting in late September for next-day and library content.
With the change, new episodes of NBCU shows such as “Saturday Night Live,” “The Voice” and “Law & Order: Organized Crime” — along with the rest of NBC’s broadcast and cable lineup for the 2022-23 season — will no longer be available on Hulu.
That said, a wide selection of many popular NBCU titles will remain on Hulu. For example, Hulu will continue to have rights to NBCU’s catalog content for several more years, including “Law & Order: SVU,” “This Is Us,” “The Mindy Project,” “30 Rock,” “Parenthood,” “Friday Night Lights” and “Will & Grace.” In December, Hulu added two new international series from NBCU, “Bloods” and “Creamerie.”
NBCU’s decision to deep-six the next-day content deal with Hulu isn’t a surprise, even before the launch of Peacock in the escalating industry-wide battle for streaming customers. The end of the NBCU content deal with Hulu was officially put in motion in 2019, under a pact between Comcast and Disney that gave the Mouse House operational control of Hulu. Under the deal, by 2022, NBCU had the right to cancel most of its content-licensing agreements with Hulu.
Comcast is expected to sell its 33% Hulu ownership stake to Disney as early as January 2024, under which Comcast is guaranteed to receive proceeds of at least $5.8 billion and potentially billions more than that.
Disney insiders have tried to put a positive sheen on NBCU’s exit from Hulu. For starters, it will free up content dollars to let Hulu invest more aggressively in originals, including from corporate-cousin studio partners across the Walt Disney Co. In addition, the end of the overall NBCU licensing deal gives Hulu more control over the ad inventory on the service.
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