Bids for the online streaming company Hulu are due on Wednesday but it is still unclear what the company’s future will hold. Bidders will “submit proposals with wide price ranges based on what types of television shows Hulu would license, when those shows would become available on Hulu and how long the agreements would stretch,” The Wall Street Journal said in a report. Most recently, Hulu changed its licensing terms and now offers television shows eight days after they air, which could turn some viewers off from the service entirely. Previously, Hulu allowed viewers to watch their favorite shows for free the day after they aired, a much more attractive option. Hulu Plus subscribers can still watch new episodes the next day. Rumors surfaced in July that Apple was pondering a Hulu purchase and The Wall Street Journal said Amazon, Google, DirecTV and Yahoo are among those who have been named as potential bidders. Industry insiders have suggested company could fetch between $500 million and $2 billion.
Hulu has confirmed that it is considering a third subscription option that would allow users to stream ad-free TV shows and movies for a higher monthly fee. “We’re currently an ad supported service but are looking into the option of a higher priced ad-free option,” a Hulu representative stated from an official Twitter account. Hulu made several additional comments to the same effect on Friday from its customer support Twitter account. The move would be an interesting one; Hulu dropped the price of its Hulu Plus premium subscription service to $7.99 last November, presumably due at least in part to slower than expected consumer adoption. A new pricier plan in spite of the recent price drop, that could also potentially anger network partners, is a tough pill to swallow —especially as the company looks for a buyer.
A firm named Rovi Corp has filed a complaint with the U.S. District court of Delaware alleging that Hulu infringes on one of its patents. Rovi Corp is not often in the headlines but its client list sports names of big hitter tech firms. Reuters said that Rovi licenses technology to Apple, Comcast and Microsoft and is even used to support the back-end of BlockBuster’s On Demand service and Best Buy’s CinemaNow. Hulu was put up for sale on June 24th and a number of companies are rumored to have been considering a bid on the streaming media company, including Apple. Hulu has yet to comment on the lawsuit. More →
Apple is toying with the idea of placing a bid on the Hulu video streaming service, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. In June, Hulu announced that it had hired Morgan Stanley and Guggenheim Partners to assist with a the sale of the company and rumor had it that Yahoo! was interested in making a bid at that time. Should an acquisition happen, Apple might use Hulu to create a subscription screaming video offering in an effort to compete with services such as Netflix. Currently, customers can only purchase or rent videos from iTunes. Amazon is also interested in the company, although Bloomberg reported that it won’t make a move unless it can have guaranteed access to television shows. Hulu, which offers a premium Hulu Plus subscription option for $7.99 per month, said that it expects to surpass 1 million subscribers this August. More →
When we last heard from social media listening firm Mashwork, we learned that future smartphone buyers were much more interested in purchasing the Samsung Galaxy S II than the 4G-friendly Motorola DROID BIONIC. Mashwork is back on Monday with some more interesting findings: according to the firm’s latest research, 45% more people prefer Netflix over Hulu Plus than vice versa. Pulling data from 10,283 relevant tweets between June 28th and July 6th, 2011, 29% of all users prefer Netflix over Hulu Plus for streaming movies and TV shows, while 20% prefer Hulu Plus over Netflix. Also of note, 51% of those accounted for in Mashwork’s study use both services and are hoping to cut the cord with their cable or satellite TV providers. Hulu certainly would like to have been positioned better in the study; Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed at a recent Allen & Co conference that Hulu owners NBCUniversal, News Corp and Disney/ABC Television Group are currently trying to sell the company. Mashwork’s full infographic follows below. More →
Hulu announced on Thursday that its Hulu Plus application is now available on select Android smartphones. The service costs $7.99 per month and allows users to browse and play Hulu Plus content directly on their smartphones. It’s currently only available for the Motorola Atrix, Motorola DROID X, Motorola DROID 2, HTC Inspire 4G, Nexus S, and Nexus One, but Hulu says it will add more devices throughout the year. New users can sign up for a free 1-week trial to give the service a whirl, and the app is available in the Android Market now. In other news, Hulu is also reportedly up for sale. The company has hired Morgan Stanley and Guggenheim Partners to assist with possible deals, and Yahoo is said to have already expressed interest in bidding on the streaming video firm. More →
Looks like the weekend’s going to start a bit early. Hulu’s subscription-based Hulu Plus service will launch for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 on Friday, and here’s the best part: it’s free for Xbox Live (Gold and Silver) users until May 6th. After that you’ll have to drop $7.99 per month to kick back and watch your favorite shows from ABC, Comedy Central, FOX, NBC, MTV, and others. Hulu’s even adding Kinect support, which means you’ll be able to play, pause, fast forward, or rewind whatever you’re watching with your voice or with a gesture. Hit the jump for the full release. More →
Research In Motion is working with Hulu in an effort to provide BlackBerry PlayBook users with access to Hulu’s online videos, The Wall Street Journal is reporting. The BlackBerry PlayBook launched with full Adobe Flash support, which meant PlayBook users were able to stream movies and television shows from the online content provider, until Hulu decided to block access earlier this week. “We are in conversations with Hulu to bring Hulu Plus subscription service to BlackBerry PlayBook users,” a spokeswoman for RIM told The Wall STreet Journal. Hulu Plus costs $7.99 per month, however, so it appears that Hulu’s free offering will continue to be blocked for the foreseeable future. More →
Google still reigns supreme in the U.S. online video market, according to new data released Thursday by comScore. There were more than 5.0 billion U.S. internet video viewing sessions during the month of February, and 1.8 billion of them were on Google sites — which includes YouTube. Google was followed by Microsoft’s sites (48.8 million unique viewers and a total of 297 million viewing sessions), Yahoo! Sites (46.7 unique viewers and a total of 200 million total viewing sessions), Facebook.com (46.6 millon unique, 170 million total), and the music video site VEVO (45.9 million unique, 222 million total). Across the entire internet, viewers watched an average of 816 minutes of video each, 261 minutes of which were on Google’s sites. comScore also said that video ads reached 42% of Americans with U.S. citizens watching a total of 3.8 billion video ads in February. Hulu served the most impressions reaching 7.8% of the total U.S. population with 1.1 billion ads viewed. More →
The Warner Bros. blockbuster The Dark Knight has become the first title to be made available for rental on Facebook, giving us our first glimpse of what ultimately could be a truly disruptive home entertainment product. Executives at Netflix, Hulu, Redbox and other similar services were no doubt squirming in their seats on Tuesday morning following the announcement that users can now use Facebook credits to rent The Dark Knight for $3. One rented, the movie can be streamed directly from the movie’s Facebook fan page for 48 hours. “Facebook has become a daily destination for hundreds of millions of people,” said Thomas Gewecke, President of Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, in a statement. “Making our films available through Facebook is a natural extension of our digital distribution efforts. It gives consumers a simple, convenient way to access and enjoy our films through the world’s largest social network.” Warner Bros. said it also plans to make digital movies available for purchase via Facebook. Hit the break for Warner Bros.’ full press release. More →
Here’s another reason for Samsung Captivate owners to be aggravated after yesterday’s debacle — Android phone owners with Android 2.2 (Froyo) or later now have access to streaming content from Netflix, Hulu, ESPN 3, Fox, Comedy Central, Spike, CNN, PBS and more thanks to the arrival of PlayOn for Android. PlayOn, MediaMall Technologies’ premier product, allows Windows PC users to stream popular video content from their home computers to a TV, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Android device. Setup is incredibly simple and content can be streamed to Android devices over Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G. MediaMall offers a free two-week trial of PlayOn to new users and then charges $39.99 for the first year of service and $19.99 for each following year. Alternatively, a $79.99 lifetime subscription is available as well. The PlayOn app for Android is available immediately in the Android Market. Hit the jump for MediaMall Technologies’ full press release along with a video explaining how it all works. More →
Roku has just announced a firmware update — version 2.9 b1509 — for its popular line of streaming media players. The new code packs various bug fixes, playback optimizations, and, most notably, 1080p video playback for the Roku XR player. If your device hasn’t yet automatically retrieved the update, you can manually grab the firmware by navigating to: Settings > Player Info > Check For Updates. More →
Here’s a bit of good news: Hulu has just announced that its Hulu Plus premium subscription service will shed $2 from its monthly price tag. As the press release reads: “The monthly price for Hulu Plus moving forward is just $7.99. Any current subscribers who joined during our preview period will receive a credit for the difference from the $9.99 preview price. This credit will automatically be applied to their next billing cycle.”
But the juice doesn’t stop there. Hulu has also announced the following promotions:
• One free week trials for all new subscribers. In addition, current subscribers who joined during the preview period will receive a credit for one week of Hulu Plus toward their next month’s subscription.
• Two free weeks of Hulu Plus for both current subscribers and friends they invite through our referral program. Subscribers can learn more by clicking on the “Referrals” tab on their Hulu profile page.
• 11 weeks ($20 worth) of free Hulu Plus with the purchase of a Sony BRAVIA connected TV or Blu-ray player through January 31, 2011. (See sony.com/huluplus.)
• One free month of Hulu Plus with the purchase of a Roku device through December 15, 2010. (See roku.com/hulu.)
The release also notes that the service is launching on Roku today and will be coming to “Internet-connected Vizio, LG Electronics, and Panasonic Blu-ray players and HDTVs; TiVo Premiere DVRs; the Xbox 360; and Western Digital’s WD TV Live Hub Media Center and WD TV Live Plus Network Media Player,” in the coming months. Updates to the Hulu Plus iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Samsung, and PlayStation 3 players will be made available this week.
Anyone reconsidering Hulu Plus after the price drop? More →