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: NBCUniversal ends content-sharing deal with Hulu: reports

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NBCUniversal has ended its content-sharing deal with Hulu, according to multiple reports, and will shift its next-day streaming lineup to its own service, Peacock.

The move had been widely expected, and the Wall Street Journal reported last month that Comcast Corp.’s
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NBCUniversal was preparing to exit the partnership. According to reports Friday by Vulture, Variety, the Hollywood Reporter and other organizations, NBC followed through with those plans, which will take effect in the fall. NBCUniversal did not immediately respond to a MarketWatch request for confirmation.

“Obviously, much of our strong NBC content premieres on Hulu,” NBCU Chief Executive Jeff Shell said on Comcast’s fourth-quarter earnings call on Jan. 27. “And over time, we’d like to bring that back to Peacock.”

Effectively, the move means that Hulu — which is majority owned by the Walt Disney Co.
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but has a minority stake owned by Comcast — will no longer stream new episodes of shows such as “Saturday Night Live,” “The Voice” and “Chicago PD” the day after they air on NBC. Instead, they’ll stream the next day on Peacock. Episodes of older NBC shows, such as “30 Rock,” “Friday Night Lights” and “The Mindy Project” will continue to be available on Hulu.

“With the proliferation of streaming services entering the marketplace, we have long anticipated changes to our third-party content offering and over the past few years have increased our investment in original content,” Hulu said in a statement.

While the move will cut off one revenue stream, NBCUniversal hopes to make up for that by gaining more Peacock subscribers. As of the end of 2021, the nearly two-year-old streaming service had about 24.5 million monthly active users, but only about 9 million paying subscribers.

Hulu had about 45.3 million subscribers as of Jan. 1, according to Disney’s first-quarter earnings report.

Disney will have the option to buy out Comcast’s stake in Hulu in 2024, which it is expected to do, and there is speculation that Hulu may eventually be absorbed into Disney+.

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