Report: Disney Could Join Hulu

“Serious” discussions are occurring between Disney and Hulu about distributing ABC and possibly ESPN content through the fast-growing video site, according to paidContent. A possible deal would have Disney offering up programming in exchange for 10 percent of Hulu (currently, Fox and NBC each own 45 percent, and investor Providence Equity owns 10 percent, for which it paid $100 million).

Complications include NBC’s and Fox’s partially exclusive online distribution deals with Hulu that are only two years long. Would Disney force them to re-up? In a world where Hulu’s success is only inspiring more competition, and with distribution tiffs cropping up for sites like TV.com and services like Boxee, a show of strength would be fantastic for Hulu right now. While Hulu has added many content providers since the founding two, it still lacks CBS content after negotiations for a prospective deal similar to the Disney one fell through.

It all depends on how much loyalty NBC and Fox have for their spinoff, and how much they’re willing to give away to make it succeed. The original Hulu CEO, George Kliavkoff, has left NBC for Hearst, and a major Hulu advocate at News Corp., Peter Chernin, is on his way out as well. You’d think they wouldn’t want to leave a site that just grew traffic 33 percent in one month hanging, but you never know with these old media folk.

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