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Time Warner buys 10% stake in Hulu

By Allen Cone
The globe from Trump Plaza Hotel frames the twin skyscrapers of theTime Warner Center in New York. The company announced Wednesday a 10 percent ownership stake in Hulu. File photo by Ezio Petersen/UPI
The globe from Trump Plaza Hotel frames the twin skyscrapers of theTime Warner Center in New York. The company announced Wednesday a 10 percent ownership stake in Hulu. File photo by Ezio Petersen/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Time Warner Inc. said Wednesday that it agreed to buy 10 percent of Hulu, the premium streaming TV service.

Time Warner's channels — including TNT, TBS, CNN, Cartoon Network and Turner Classic Movies — will be available live and on-demand on Hulu's new live-streaming service, set to launch early next year, according to a news release.

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Time Warner joins The Walt Disney Company, 21st Century Fox, and Comcast, who each had one-third ownership in Hulu.

Time Warner paid $583 million in cash for the 10 percent stake, giving Hulu a new valuation of about $5.8 billion, according to sources with The Wall Street Journal.

Hulu will continue offering ad-supported and ad-free subscription programming. Hulu also has original programming, including The Mindy Project, The Path, Difficult People, 11.22.63 and Casual.

Jeff Bewkes, chairman and CEO of Time Warner, said, "Our investment in Hulu underscores Time Warner's commitment to supporting and developing new platforms for the delivery of high-quality content and great consumer experiences to audiences around the globe."

Hulu launched in 2008.

"This investment from Time Warner marks a major step for Hulu as we continue to redefine television for both consumers and advertisers," Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins said. "Our two companies have long enjoyed a productive relationship – which includes the availability of past seasons of popular Turner shows on our current SVOD offerings – and we are very proud that Turner's networks will be included in our planned live streaming service."

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Time Warner has lost subscribers as more people cut the cable cord and opt for online streaming. Time Warner last year launched HBO Now, a stand-alone streaming service for the channel.

Also Wednesday, Time Warner reported better-than-anticipated results in its latest quarter, prompting the company to push up its full-year guidance. But quarterly revenue declined to $7 billion from $7.35 billion from a year earlier, mainly to slowing revenue growth in its HBO business and box office. Profit was $952 million, down from $971 million a year earlier.

Last month, Comcast made a deal with Netflix to allow the company to stream content on the cable company's X1 platform.

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