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Hulu could play a key role in Disney's plan to take on Netflix

Hulu could play a key role in Disney's plan to take on Netflix

In the burgeoning business of streaming television shows, Hulu has long been viewed as the distant runner-up to Netflix.

But with Walt Disney Co. poised to take a controlling stake in Hulu, the little 10-year-old streaming service once known solely for airing reruns of broadcast shows online could eventually become a credible threat to Netflix’s dominance.

Burbank-based Disney will own 60% of Hulu if its proposed $52.4-billion purchase of 21st Century Fox is approved by regulators. Hulu is currently equally owned by Fox, Disney and Comcast, which each have 30% stakes. (Fellow media giant Time Warner owns the other 10%.)

If Disney’s acquisition of Fox closes in 2019,...

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