Disney to partner on Hulu?

Deal could see co. taking equity stake

There’s chatter in the online world about the possibility of Disney signing on as a partner with News Corp. and NBC Universal in Hulu.

According to a report posted Friday on Paid Content, Hulu and the Mouse are in negotiations on a deal that could see Disney taking an equity stake in the Internet vid provider that has grown rapidly in the past year to become the No. 2 purveyor of video on the Web behind Google’s YouTube. Reps for Disney and Hulu declined comment on the report.

Mouse insiders acknowledged that talks are under way but indicated that no deal was imminent, and they stressed that Disney has had ongoing conversations with a number of vid aggregator sites, including Hulu, about licensing ABC and Disney-produced shows for ad-supported Web streaming.

Disney was a trailblazer in offering full-length ABC shows for web-streaming online in 2006, but since then, it has mostly kept its program offerings on ABC.com and the websites of its affiliate stations. NBC and Fox have taken the approach of allowing their shows to be widely distribbed on the web via Hulu, while CBS has inked deals with numerous Internet distribution partners to make its content widely available for streaming.

Hulu has been on a growth spurt in the past few months on the back of its first major consumer marketing push. In February, the service delivered nearly 309 million video streams.

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