Disney + Hulu: Who Wins, Who Loses and Who Cares?

[qi:_newteevee] There was a tectonic shift in the digital media landscape yesterday with Disney’s announcement that it would become part owner of Hulu and provide the content portal with full-length episodes of hit shows like “Lost” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” As with any deal of this size, there are winners and losers. Hulu is obviously a winner, as it now gains a new, two-year lease on life and can boast content from three of the four major broadcast networks. Hulu’s win, though, is a big loss for YouTube, which also has a deal with Disney, but only gets short-form clips.

Hulu’s victory celebration may be short-lived, however. Sure, it gets a ton of new premium content, but it also gets a new owner and as such now has three media companies to answer to. We’ve already seen the first two exert their influence on the service through restrictive release windows, the pulling of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” from the site, and the pressure on Hulu to remove itself from the Boxee media platform. Hulu doesn’t own its content, and without that content, it can’t exist. So in a sense, this deal means a lot, but changes little, as Hulu still isn’t in control of its own destiny.

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