In a colossal merge that has been foreshadowed for months now, Comcast has finally struck a deal with NBC Universal to acquire 51 percent of the entertainment giant for a whopping $30 billion, while General Electric will maintain the other 49 percent. The purchase gives the nation’s largest cable and internet provider ownership of NBC’s TV properties, film entertainment and theme parks, along with some precious digital properties, according to TVGuide.com.
One of these properties includes Hulu, which has been urging its 18 million viewers to enjoy free online TV while they can as they plan to eventually charge their users by 2010. Although Hulu assured the public they would use a paid-subscription model with or without Comcast, the deal seems to further solidify the beginning of the end for the internet’s free programming.
“This deal is a perfect fit for Comcast and will allow us to become a leader in the development and distribution of multiplatform ‘anytime, anywhere’ media that American consumers are demanding,” said Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts in a statement. “In particular, NBCU’s fast-growing, highly profitable cable networks are a great complement to our industry-leading distribution business.”
In addition to acquiring all of NBC’s rights, Comcast will bring its own channels to the new powerhouse conglomerate, such as E!, Versus, The Gold Channel and their 10 regional sports networks.