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Submission + - Will Comcast Deal kill Hulu ? (latimes.com)

Tiger4 writes: Comcast, a major US cable TV provider, may soon be in a position to kill free access to Hulu, the online TV streaming service.

"The nation's leading cable company has made no secret of its disdain for Hulu's approach of giving away the shows that Comcast and other pay-TV distributors spend billions for — and rely on to retain subscribers. Comcast is in talks with NBC Universal about pooling their entertainment assets into a new company that would own 30% of Hulu in addition to the NBC network and cable channels such as Bravo, E! and Syfy. Comcast would control the new entity and possibly have the clout to push Hulu to begin charging for access to some of its most popular shows, including "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" or "Psych." "

However, regulatory concerns do exist

There is no guarantee that Comcast and NBC Universal will come together. The deal hinges on whether a French company, Vivendi, decides to unload its 20% stake in NBC Universal. Vivendi must decide in the next two months, and then federal regulators — already concerned about media consolidation — would have to sign off on the venture of Comcast and NBC Universal.

If the deal is completed, Comcast would own 51% and GE would have 49%. This would give the Philadelphia-based cable operator a stake in Hulu, which has experienced explosive growth during the last year. The service's online audience swelled to 38.5 million viewers in August, up from 10.2 million a year earlier, according to ComScore Video Metrix, which tracks online audiences.


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