There was a lot of speculation about Hulu’s future going into last week’s Sun Valley conference, which put Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and Disney CEO Bob Chapek into the same room for the first time in a long time. The speculation is centered around a fast-approaching January 2024 deadline where Disney may buy Comcast’s remaining 33% stake in Hulu for a guaranteed floor value of $27.5B (as per a May 2019 agreement around Disney’s acquisition of Fox assets, Disney has a 67% ownership interest and full operational control of Hulu). 
CNBC’s Alex Sherman recently dove into the challenges of Hulu’s “messy positioning” within Disney, and laid out potential different futures for Hulu both inside and outside of Disney, including potential spin-offs.
I believe the least plausible future outcome is Hulu being sold back to Comcast.
Why? One of Disney’s post-merger objectives is to automate 50% its ad business in five years, and yesterday Disney announced it had expanded its deal with demand side platform (DSP) The Trade Desk to enable brands to target automated ads across Disney properties. That deal builds off of Hulu's video ad-serving technology and makes it easier for advertisers to buy automated ads without sacrificing the ability to target them narrowly.
Meaning, Hulu’s video ad-serving technology is now too integral to Disney’s overall advertising model to be spun off. That raises two questions:
According to thisMarch 2021 AdExchanger article, the strategy to achieve that objective is being built upon “a video ad server ‘pressure-tested’ at Hulu” and is being developed by a 500-person engineering and product team led by Jeremy Helfand, previously ...