Hulu couldn’t find any serious suitors for an acquisition last time it was on the block, but 2013 is a completely different story. Yahoo, Time Warner Cable and DirecTV are each among the companies offering serious cash for the movie and TV show streaming service, and a new report suggests AT&T may soon enter the fray with a joint bid. AllThingsD reports that AT&T and The Chernin Group are in talks to make a play for Hulu, though the amount the pair might offer is not currently known. The Chernin Group had previously bid $500 million for Hulu this past April, however a series of more recent bids have reportedly reached as high as $1 billion.
The bidding for popular video streaming site Hulu just got a lot more intense. Reuters reports that three companies have each bid in excess of $1 billion to buy Hulu, including satellite TV provider DirecTV. All three bids easily dwarf the $600 million to $800 million that Yahoo was reportedly offering for the company and significantly increase the odds that News Corp and Disney will be able to successfully sell the company in the coming months after failing to find a buyer two years ago. In addition to Yahoo and DirecTV, Time Warner Cable has also made a bid for Hulu, although that bid is reportedly for an equity stake and not outright ownership of the company.
So how much will it take for Yahoo to buy itself a stake in Hulu? According to a new report from AllThingsD, at least $600 million. Citing “numerous sources close to the situation,” AllThingsD reports that Yahoo is bidding between $600 million and $800 million for Hulu, a range that reflects the fact that Yahoo “has proposed several different prices based on a variety of circumstances” including “the length of the licensing rights for content and how much control the programming companies selling Hulu have over their media.” More →
Yahoo is apparently determined to show that it can do more than pay $1.1 billion for a bunch of teenage girls’ blogs. Unnamed sources tell Bloomberg that Yahoo has submitted an offer to buy video streaming website Hulu, a sign that the company is still considering ways to counter the enormous video streaming clout that Google now holds with YouTube. Yahoo was interested in buying a majority stake in French video streaming website Dailymotion earlier this year but that deal fell apart after the French government reportedly threatened to block it. In making an official bid for Hulu, Yahoo will be competing with Time Warner Cable, which is considering buying a 33% equity stake in the company. It’s unknown at this point whether Yahoo’s bid for Hulu will just be for a similar shared stake or if it plans to be more aggressive and buy a majority stake in the firm.
We may now have a clue about how Time Warner Cable plans to implement its own Aereo-like service. Unnamed sources have told Bloomberg that Time Warner Cable is considering buying an equity stake in Hulu and “could offer Hulu to its customers as a bundled service inside and outside of the home with its current products,” meaning customers could access their favorite shows on Hulu without paying a monthly subscription fee for Hulu Plus. Under the plan being discussed, Time Warner Cable would take a 33% stake in Hulu with the rest held by co-owners Disney, Comcast and News Corp. Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt recently said that the cable industry’s “structure needs more flexibility” and that he wants to offer customers “smaller, more affordable packages” that don’t cost them upward of $100 a month.
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is reportedly looking to step up the competition with her former employer. According to AllThingsD, Mayer has held preliminary talks with Hulu executives to discuss a potential bid for the video-streaming service. The move to acquire Hulu, which offers movies, TV episodes, trailers, clips and behind-the-scenes footage from NBC, Fox, ABC, TBS and other networks, would put Yahoo in further competition with Google as it prepares to take on traditional television with its YouTube service. More →
A new report suggests that online movie and TV streaming service Hulu may be looking to sell. According to Reuters, Hulu, which is a joint venture between ABC and Fox, has hired financial services firm Guggenheim Partners to advise the company on a potential sale. Hulu had previously hired the firm in 2011, however it was unable to find a buyer that was willing to pay the $2 billion asking price. In addition to advising the company, Guggenheim Partners is said to be interested in making a bid for Hulu, which may pose a conflict of interest. The firm created a separate Guggenheim Digital Media unit in January that is headed by former Yahoo CEO and News Corp executive Ross Levinsohn, who is reportedly interested in a deal with the company. In 2012, Hulu generated revenues of around $700 million from more than 3 million premium subscribers.
Hulu CEO Jason Kilar announced plans to resign his post at the company some time in the first quarter of 2013 on Hulu’s official blog on Friday. In his official resignation letter, Kilar said he was working with the company’s board “to ensure there is ample runway to manage this transition” and that current Hulu CTO Rich Tom would be stepping down with him. Kilar didn’t give a specific reason for his departure but said that his “decision to depart has been one of the toughest I’ve ever made” and that he was “thankful” for his time running the company. Kilar’s resignation comes less than a month after the company announced it had passed 3 million paid subscribers for its Hulu Plus service.
Hulu has continued its steady growth in recent months and on Monday CEO Jason Kilar announced the streaming service now has more than 3 million paying subscribers. The service had an explosive year and was released on a variety of devices including the Apple (AAPL) TV, Nintendo Wii and Wii U, a number of Android tablets and smartphones, and Windows 8 tablets. Kilar revealed that Hulu Plus can now be accessed from more than 320 million Internet connected devices in the U.S., not including laptop and desktop computers. Hulu also increased its catalog of movies and TV shows by over 40% over the past two years and now has more than 430 content partners providing more than 60,000 TV episodes from 2,300 different series.
Hulu on Friday announced that it has added thousands of new video game trailers to its expansive online video catalog. The gaming page, which is now live for PC users and will roll out to Hulu Plus apps over the “next few months,” includes HD trailers, gameplay footage and reviews of the latest games. Hulu offers users both paid and ad-supported on-demand videos such as TV shows, movie trailers and behind-the-scenes footage. The company announced earlier this year that it is going to begin airing original content to attract new users and further compete with Netflix (NFLX). Hulu has more than 2 million paid subscribers, a small number compared to Netflix’s estimated 23.4 million users.
Hulu Plus now has more than 2 million subscribers just 21 months after first coming online. Hulu CEO Jason Kilar announced the milestone at an Ad Age conference earlier this week, according to IP&TV News. Prior to launching Hulu Plus, Hulu served mostly as a streaming website that offered a limited number of episodes per show. The subscription service, which costs $7.99 a month, now gives users access to shows’ entire archives and also lets them view content on a large variety of platforms including through web-connected Blu-ray players, DVR boxes, laptops, smartphones and tablets. While Hulu Plus’s subscriber growth has been impressive, it still has a long way to go to catch Netflix, which has an estimated 23.4 million streaming subscribers in the United States. More →
Hulu on Monday announced 10 original and exclusive TV shows that will premiere this summer, including one from writer-director-actor Kevin Smith. Smith, known for the cult classic Clerks and numerous other films, will host a half-hour movie “revue” for movie lovers, which will be available on Hulu and Hulu Plus beginning June 4th. “I have always wanted to do a show that provides an open forum for real fans to discuss real movies in real time and that’s what ‘Spoilers’ is about. As a filmmaker and lover of movies, I understand that ultimately it’s the fans who make the film. So in this show, we do not review movies, we revere them,” said Smith. In August, Hulu will launch a travel series called “Up To Speed” from filmmaker Richard Linklater, and in the same month, the company will premiere “an edgy male comedy” called “We Got Next.” The streaming website will also carry seven TV shows that have never been available before in the U.S., including “Rev.,” “The Yard,” “Pramface,” “Derren Brown: Inside Your Mind,” “The Promise” and “Little Mosque,” along with the second season of the sci-fi thriller, “The Booth at the End.” Hulu’s press release follows below. More →
New data from Nielsen suggests that console owners are using their Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii game consoles to stream video content more than ever before. “Streaming now represents a reported 14 percent of Xbox 360 time, 15 percent of PS3 time and 33 percent of Wii time,” Nielsen said Wednesday. The market research firm explained that the growth in time spent streaming was driven by services such as ESPN 3, Netflix, MLB Network and Hulu, but that time spent using consoles also increased overall. Console usage during the first half of 2011 jumped 7% from the same time period last year. Nielsen said gaming is the most popular activity on Xbox 360 (34% of usage), the PS3 is most used for DVD/Blu-ray viewing (22% of usage) and the Wii is used most for offline gaming (55% of usage). More →