Lillian Rizzo, Joe Flint
Comcast Corp.’s /zigman2/quotes/209472081/composite CMCSA -0.14% NBCUniversal is considering removing much of its content from Hulu and making it exclusive to its Peacock platform, according to people familiar with the matter, as the media giant determines how to best play its hand in the streaming wars.
NBCUniversal, which owns one-third of Hulu, with Walt Disney Co. /zigman2/quotes/203410047/composite DIS -1.83% controlling the rest, has to make a decision soon. Under the terms of an agreement with Disney, NBCUniversal has a one-time window to exit from the content-licensing agreement between the two early next year. If it doesn’t exercise the option, the content would remain there until at least 2024.
Disney and NBCU, which have been partners in Hulu for more than a decade, are now competing head-to-head with their own streaming platforms: Disney+, which has been off to a fast start, and Peacock, which has been slow to establish its place . The decision comes as Disney and NBCU parent Comcast are also embroiled in a dispute over Hulu’s valuation.
If NBCUniversal decides to pull its content, it would disappear from Hulu by the fall of 2022, according to some of the people familiar with the matter.
Shows produced by NBC that could depart include hits such as “The Voice,” “Chicago PD” and “Saturday Night Live.” Episodes of all three appear on Hulu typically just one day after they air on NBC and are strong performers for the platform, according to people close to the streaming service.
An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.
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