Another big change is about to happen in the streaming landscape, and like a lot of these big changes (if not all of them), the big loser is going to be all of the poor idiots like us who thought we could sneak on by with only one or two subscriptions. The latest shift is one that has been in the works for a long time: Hulu will officially lose new, next-day episodes of NBC shows in September. That comes from IndieWire, and the reason it’s happening now is because of the fact that Hulu is owned by Disney and NBCUniversal—with Mickey Mouse holding a majority stake.
Disney is riding high, happily taking over all media in the United States, while NBCUniversal is getting more desperate for reasons to convince people to sign up for Peacock (the streaming service that didn’t grow at all last quarter). Thus, it is in nobody’s best interest (except, again, for poor idiots like us) to make NBC content readily available on Hulu, and so there will soon be less of it.
Having access to stuff from regular TV used to be the big selling point for Hulu when it’s only other real competitor was Netflix, but when NBC pulls out, it will only be left with ABC and Fox in terms of shows that air on their networks and are then available to stream the next day. Hulu will reportedly still have “certain NBCUniversal programming” available to stream for the foreseeable future, but you’ll need Peacock if you want to watch, say, a new episode of Saturday Night Live.
IndieWire points out that Hulu is the rare streaming service that actually makes a profit, but the story also argues that the writing might be on the wall for Hulu to get shut down in the next few years. When Disney took over the majority of the service, it established a deal with NBCUniversal owner Comcast that involved Disney agreeing to buy up Comcast’s remaining stake in Hulu for a minimum of $27.5 billion if—by January of 2024—Comcast wants out of the Hulu business.
Pair that big price tag just to keep Hulu afloat with Disney’s increasing willingness to put R-rated content on Disney+, and Hulu seems less and less necessary (in a depressing and bleak capitalist sort of way). Apparently using a service, liking what it offers, and giving money to the people who own it is just not enough to keep it alive anymore.
That’s all guesswork, though. What we do know for now is that new episodes of NBC stuff will no longer be available to stream on Hulu starting next month.