Hulu lost $357 million in the second quarter, more than doubling the $173 million the SVOD joint venture bled in the same quarter of 2017.
Comcast, which owns 30% of Hulu, reported that its proportional share of Hulu’s loss was $107 million for the second quarter—The Walt Disney Company and 21st Century Fox are also 30% stakeholders in the joint venture, while the erstwhile Time Warner Cable (now WarnerMedia under new overlord AT&T) controls 10%.
The revelation comes as Disney is seeking to buy select Fox assets for $71 billion—a bounty that includes Fox’s stake in Hulu, making Disney the controlling share holder in the JV.
It also comes as Hulu is investing billions of dollars in original content in an attempt to sustain an arms race with SVOD rivals Netflix and Amazon.
> “The higher losses at Hulu were primarily driven by higher programming and labor costs, partially offset by higher subscription and advertising revenue,” Disney CFO Christine McCarthy, during the company’s second-quarter call earlier this week.
All of Hulu’s partner’s expect to spend more on the JV this year. Comcast said it spent $227 million on the venture for the first six months of 2018 vs. $99 million in the first half of 2017. Disney also disclosed that it spent $227 million in the first half of the year. Disney also has earmarked $450 million for Hulu this year. Commensurate investments by the rest of Hulu’s partners would render a total investment of $1.5 billion, up from $1 billion in 2017.
Hulu is expected to spend $2.5 billion on original content this year. It’s corporate owners still aren’t releasing revenue figures.