Hulu on the Auction Block
Hulu has been placed on the auction block; and there are some sharks in the bidding war for all Hulu, bids are due in Wednesday. Right now Amazon, Yahoo and Google seem to be the front runners in the bidding war. Current owners of Hulu are looking to pull in about 2 billion for the site; though bids could range anywhere from half a billion up to the asking price.
Hulu has a lot to offer to each of the companies looking to acquire it. Hulu has a sizable catalog of content to offer streaming customers, including recent TV content. Hulu also has its pay service Hulu Plus which has approximately 1 million users. It also has contracts in place for content that may go as far as 5 years out.
Amazon who offers streaming video with its Amazon Prime service could significantly bolster its catalog of offerings by giving it the much needed infusion of content that is housed in the Hulu collection. The Amazon Prime service is priced accordingly with Netflix, the biggest player in the game; however Prime also includes free 2 day shipping from Amazon, a nice bonus feature.
The addition of Hulu to the Yahoo Family could go a long way towards jump starting Yahoo into the Over the Top video sector. Right now Yahoo has the feel of being a step behind in a lot of markets; and maybe only a few steps away from being left behind all together, it wasn’t that long ago they were entertaining an offer from Microsoft. Given that Yahoo isn’t currently a player in the OTT video game, they might have the easiest time running with Hulu and integrating it into their current model.
With YouTube already the most popular video site on the web, it’s no secret that Google is a player in the OTT video market. The real question is: how can Google Make Hulu work with what it already has in place? If a big part of what gives Hulu its value, then Google might not see the value in it; after all, two billion is a lot to shell out. But, if Google sees the majority of Hulu’s value in the contracts for its content, and is content to scrap the Hulu brand there might be nothing that could stop it from snatching it up at auction.
When all the bidding is done someone will be the proud new owner of Hulu; what they are able to do with it will be the difference between game changing or business as usual.