Hulu Nears New Content Deal with Entertainment Conglomerate Owners

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CEO Jason Kilar says joint venture partners News Corp., Disney, Providence Equity Partners and his team “have been engaged in productive discussions to extend our existing content agreements a number of years.”

NEW YORK - Online video site Hulu and its entertainment conglomerate owners are nearing new long-term content deals that could be finalized within a week and would keep programs from ABC, Fox and NBC on the site, AllThingsD’s MediaMemo reported.

Hulu is a joint venture of News Corp., Walt Disney, NBCUniversal and private equity firm Providence Equity Partners.

Hulu management, led by CEO Jason Kilar who has been pushing for new content arrangements to the point of threatening to quit last fall, and executives from News Corp. and Disney are negotiating the new content deal, with Providence also having a say, according to MediaMemo. But NBCUniversal had to give up its board seats and active management role in Hulu as part of a deal to sell a 51 percent stake to cable giant Comcast, which closed in late January. So, NBCUniversal must accept whatever terms its partners agree on.

“News Corp, Disney, Providence and the Hulu team have been engaged in productive discussions to extend our existing content agreements a number of years,” Kilar told MediaMemo in a statement. “Keep in mind that our existing content agreements already extend for several more years; these discussions would extend the term further and also extend our separate Hulu Plus [subscription service] content agreements.”

The new pact may affect programming availability and windows, as well as how much Hulu pays for the content, according to MediaMemo. It may also give Hulu’s owners more flexibility to distribute content on other digital outlets as Disney and News Corp. in particular have emphasized their willingness to make money off their content across as many platforms as possible.

In a recent blog post, Kilar said Hulu is on pace to exceed 1 million Hulu Plus subscribers in 2011 and approach $500 million in revenue this year. He also said that the content community will earn about $300 million via Hulu over the course of 2011.