Print 16 comment(s) - last by nocturne_81.. on Sep 7 at 5:48 PM

Google, Yahoo, Amazon and DISH Network are all preparing bids for the acquisition of Hulu  (Source:
Among those who have prepared bids for Hulu are Google, Yahoo, Amazon and DISH Network

We learned just a few months ago that Hulu had placed a "for sale" sign on its store window, and now, the video streaming subscription service site is to receive about five first-round bids.

Earlier this year, Hulu, which is owned by Walt Disney Co., News Corp., Comcast Corp. and Providence Equity Partners Inc., was working to renew licensing agreements in order to increase its value on the open market. In June, Fox Broadcasting Co. renewed its licensing agreement, which brought shows like "Family Guy," "Glee," and "The Simpsons" back to Hulu. With such agreements in its back pocket, Hulu had something to offer subscribers and could finally have a shot at attracting a buyer.

Hulu went up for sale in late June, almost immediately after Yahoo approached Hulu about a possible acquisition, yet Hulu wasn't ready to sell at that point.

Now, Hulu is to receive as many as five first-round bids where each offer included terms for programming rights. Bid prices are still unclear, but the Wall Street Journal expects that bids will range between $500 million and $2 billion.

Among those who have prepared bids for Hulu are Google, Yahoo, Amazon and DISH Network.

Hulu's owners will grant the winner five years of rights to TV shows, which includes two years of exclusivity. According to Chase Carey, chief operating officer of News Corp., the sale process is trucking alone right on schedule.

"We'll see where it ultimately ends up," said Carey. "For us, it's still a decision to see what it looks like at the end, and does it make sense to pursue that path, or does it make sense for us to stay in an ownership position and continue to have it driven by content owners."

It's tough for video streaming services to compete in a very Netflix-driven world, but with recent issues like Netflix's subscription price hikes and its loss of the satellite TV channel Starz (which is supposedly going to release its movies through contractual negotiations with DISH's Blockbuster streaming movie service), new competitors could give Netflix a run for its money.

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RE: Eh..
By Reclaimer77 on 9/6/2011 12:37:15 PM , Rating: 0
it's not chocked full of thousands of pages of useless and obscure content

It's just choked full of ads and thousands of pages of crappy recycled corporate TV content. Most of which isn't even worth watching for free, let alone their obscene fee.

Yeah Youtube is terrible for providing user generated content for everyone, for free.

Youtube is thriving, Hulu failed. I think you need to reevaluate your position on which format is more viable. Big shock. Like people want to pay more than Netflix for commercials and the same crap you can see on TV for free every day...

RE: Eh..
By nocturne_81 on 9/6/2011 5:37:16 PM , Rating: 2
You're taking an inch.. and then smacking yourself upside the head with a ruler.

My point was that they are in the same market, but have entirely different approaches (obviously, they are in no way equivalent services). Google has nothing at all to gain in the transaction other than the licensing of exclusive content. Why run two sites that in many ways compete with each other? Why buy Hulu just to scrap it for it's content (the same in the case of Apple)?

Youtube thrives because of it's user generated content alone (and admittedly, 'free' commercial content such as web-shows, vlogs, and music videos).. If it degenerated into just another platform to waste money on, who would still use it? Anybody here ever pay to stream a movie online..? If so, I know a Nigerian banker who would really like to get your email address..

Meanwhile, Hulu's strength is that it's poised to become a viable alternative to a television service. At it's release, I preferred using it over my cable DVR just because it was simply more convenient to watch a single commercial per break rather than fast-forwarding through a whole 5 minutes. Though admittedly, if I'm not watching the show 'live' -- the most convenient way for me to watch any show is just to go onto one of many illegal streaming sites, and watch the show entirely commercial free within 15 minutes of it's conclusion (exactly why I haven't used Hulu in at least 2 years). It should also be stated that Hulu is much more profitable as a free ad-revenue based product than a premium service -- unless you like to sit around watching old SNL episodes.. I suppose Hulu+ was merely an afterthought, a diversion from their original concept.

I never said that Google shouldn't show interest in bidding, but I seriously doubt they're ready to bid competitively. Sure, they have plenty to gain, but..

The single company listed with the most to gain, and the most to lose, is obvious -- Yahoo. I imagine they'll try everything they can to walk away with Hulu at the end of the day, increasing bidding far past the point where Apple and Google would lose interest. Hell, they'd be crazy not to..

RE: Eh..
By Reclaimer77 on 9/6/2011 6:34:53 PM , Rating: 2
I don't disagree with your points. I was mostly speaking about the offhand and negative statements you made about Youtube i.e "useless" content and etc etc. Personally I spend more time on Youtube than I ever would on Hulu.

Meanwhile, Hulu's strength is that it's poised to become a viable alternative to a television service.

Not in it's current form because it failed. I'm not sure how something that couldn't remain viable is "poised" to do much. It's not really an alternative when you're paying basic cable prices and still having to deal with commercials. Hulu is basically like watching on demand TV channels on your PC.

I never said that Google shouldn't show interest in bidding, but I seriously doubt they're ready to bid competitively. Sure, they have plenty to gain, but..

I think they have lots of gain. If I were Google I would buy Hulu, use whatever technologies from it that I deemed appropriate, and then completely shut down Hulu and wipe it off the face of the Earth. Buying the competition to eliminate competition is a time honored tradition. Killing off Hulu to preserve Youtube market share would be a worthwhile investment in my opinion.

RE: Eh..
By nocturne_81 on 9/7/2011 5:48:16 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I didn't mean to discount the value of Youtube so much.. I personally use it everyday, whereas I haven't been to Hulu in years. I was merely trying to emphasize the incredibly vast difference between the two services.

I think you are also emphasizing the premium aspect of Hulu much more than the 'free' side. Hulu+ gives you access to every season/episode of nearly every show created by the 3 media company owners as well as increased resolution and less ads. Meanwhile, the free side gives you a vast selection of the most recent episode(s) of currently running shows if not the entire current season; as well as a good selection of older, more obscure or foreign shows -- in exchange for stomaching a reasonable amount of ads (still less than on television)...

I thought about it a bit, though, and realized it all comes down to the specifics of the licensing.. Does this include the entire media catalog of all three companies, or only what's currently on Hulu? Does the sale price include all licensing fees for 5 years? Is exclusive really exclusive? To what extent? Online only, of course; but what about show/movie availability in other outlets such as iTunes or marketting content on the provider's own sites?

If the answer to many or all of those questions is 'yes' -- then this can indeed be a game-changer, and I could imagine the bidding reaching several billion dollars..

"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer

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