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Iger: Hulu Deal Won't Compromise Other Businesses

Following a "healthy debate" internally, Disney finally decided that Hulu's surging popularity and ability to monetize its content were reason enough to join the video venture from News Corp. and NBC Universal, chief executive Bob Iger said during Disney's first quarter earnings call. During the call, Iger reiterated that Disney's decision to put content on Hulu wouldn't pose a threat to its existing businesses, and would instead add new revenue streams and help combat digital piracy by creating a legitimate place for consumers to access online content.

He added that Disney's relationship with Apple's iTunes digital media store would not be compromised, either, as consumers would now have the choice of paying for commercial-free content that they could use however they please. As for Disney's cable networks like ESPN and The Disney Channel, Iger said the company still views their Web sites as the primary online destination for their content, and would continue to develop those sites.

Iger also said that the move to join Hulu was good for Disney's relationship with cable and satellite operators. "They wouldn't be very happy if we were doing nothing online and the pirates got a hold of [of Disney's content]," he said. He added that the prospect of taking an equity stake in Hulu was more attractive for shareholders than doing a content deal with Google's YouTube. That said, "the possibility of our ending up on YouTube still exists," said Iger. "We believe that by providing consumers tangible value in new ways, we ultimately will be compensated for it.

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