FCC May Force NBC to Drop Hulu Exclusivity as Condition for Merger

NBC Comcast Hulu

The FCC is examining the pending Comcast-NBC merger and Business Insider reports one proposed condition should the agency allow the deal seems to be that NBC must allow anyone to stream its shows online.

Currently, NBC, Fox, and ABC all have exclusivity agreements with Hulu, so to watch any of those networks’ shows online, you must do so either at their sites or Hulu, though Hulu does sub-license shows to other sites, taking a revenue share. If the FCC follows through and forces NBC to drop that exclusivity agreement and allow other sites like AOL, Yahoo, or You Tube, to directly stream its shows, Hulu will take a big revenue hit.

It’s not clear whether the FCC merely wants Hulu to continue its sub-licensing or if it is indeed trying to break the exclusivity agreement, but Hulu is certainly hoping for the former. We won’t know which it is until FCC head Julius Genachowski makes all his proposed rules public. Meanwhile, this is just one more wrinkle in the already complicated and controversial Comcast-NBC merger.