Hulu Has Seven Suitors, Why We’re Rooting for Yahoo

/ May 28, 2013

VIS_HuluOriginalSeries

While you were all spending Memorial Day Weekend out in the sun (or, more realistically, bingeing on the new season of “Arrested Development”), the Hulu bidding war ratched up a bit as multiple media reports placed the list of companies vying to buy (or at least invest in) the online video service at seven: The Chernin Group, Guggenheim Digital, DirecTV, Time Warner Cable, KKR, Silver Lake in partnership with Ari Emanuel’s William Morris Endeavor, and Yahoo!, fresh off its $1.1 billion decision to buy Tumblr.

Some of these companies have interesting relationships with Hulu (e.g. Peter Chernin helped found the online video site back when he was COO of News Corp.; Guggenheim is essentially trying to buy Hulu as well as overseeing the bidding process).  Some were involved in the last Hulu bidding war in 2011, which after months of fervent reporting and analysis ultimately went nowhere (which is to say, don’t be surprised if that happens again).

But here is what everyone pretty much agrees on: Regardless of what price Hulu will fetch, a lot of it will be tied to how much content from Hulu’s current owners – Disney, News Corp., and Comcast – the new owner(s) will have access to, and for how long. That’s why Peter Chernin’s original bid for Hulu in this year’s merry-go-round was for $500 million, with an understanding that the price would go up depending on the number and type of content rights attached to it.

We can imagine a lot of different scenarios about the future of Hulu depending on who eventually assumes ownership of the company. But who would be the best suitor for Hulu?

If you’re looking at it through the lens of original web video programming, then the answer has to be Yahoo!, right? Unlike the other six companies (but similar to Hulu), Yahoo! is actively investing in original programming for the web.

That’s not to say the other suitors won’t pursue original online video. It’s not hard to imagine a DirecTV or WME pursuing and distributing original projects through Hulu, especially after the fanfare surrounding Netflix’s “House of Cards” and its resurrection of “Arrested Development,” as well as, to a lesser extent, Amazon’s original comedy and kids programming slates.

But right now, Hulu’s value is almost entirely associated with the TV content it has the rights to. Premium in online video is hard to come by, and Hulu, with its TV library, certainly belongs in the conversation of the top online video providers (whether you’re a consumer or a media planner/buyer).

With Yahoo!, it might be the best of both worlds. As mentioned above, Yahoo! is no stranger to original web programming. The company also just recently made splash by acquiring the rights to the “SNL” archives (away from Hulu, no less). So it’s not exactly against offering TV content online on an exclusive basis. If Yahoo! were to buy Hulu, we can imagine a scenario in which it integrates Yahoo! Screen (and all of the original and licensed content that resides within it) with the Hulu experience. That sounds like a pretty worthy competitor to Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube in terms of both TV content and web-originals.

As for Hulu’s current users, no matter how this bidding war shakes out (unless, like in 2011, nothing happens), the expectation should be that the site won’t always offer as many TV shows and episodes as it currently does. But that’s a different story for a different day.

That’s just how see it. We’d love to hear what you think (or are rooting for) in the comments below.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Hearst

AwesomenessTV, Vice, Complex to Power New HearstLive...

 
dirty-30-hannah-hart-mamrie-hart-grace-helbig

VIDEO: ‘Dirty 30’ Confessions with Stars Hart,...

 
facebook-thumbs-down

Facebook Says It’s Sorry It Vastly Overestimated Video...

 
craig-piligian-pilgrim-media-group

Pilgrim Media Group CEO Craig Piligian (‘The...

 
Industry Tickets Selling Fast!
Click above to lock in your registration for VidCon 2015!
 
youtube-heroes-for-change

Heroes or Rats?: YouTube Unveils New Program for Creators Who...

 
Vessel says it's doing well in its first month

Why Verizon is Pursuing Vessel, the...

 
jared-feldman-and-sam-hui-ph-d-at-the-2014-canvs-launch

How Canvs Media is Harvesting Emotional Insights on YouTube,...

 
marlon-wayans

Marlon Wayans Getting ‘Naked’ for Netflix with Regina Hall

 
huffpost-ryot-aol

HuffPost RYOT Launching Virtual Reality Comedy Series and News...

 
youtube-vote-irl

YouTube Launches #voteIRL Campaign Targeting Digital-First Generation

 
tyler-oakley-camp17

How Top YouTubers (incl. Tyler Oakley & Meghan Rienks)...

 
charlie-sheen-anger-management

Charlie Sheen to Star in Crackle Feature ‘Mad Families’

 
filmbuff_videoink_300x250

Gunpowder & Sky Buys Distributor FilmBuff As Vision for...

 
toy-freaks-youtube

Toy Freaks Top Viewed YouTube Channel in August According to...

 
jeffrey-tambor-transparent-amazon

Emmy Wrap-Up 2016: Jeffrey Tambor (‘Transparent’)...

 
Twitter

Twitter Scores 2.1 Million Viewers for Thursday Night Footall Kickoff

 
youtube-sad-face-error

Vloggers Not Unique Snowflakes: 90 Million Flag YouTube Videos...

 
Mode Media

‘Billion Dollar Startup’ Mode Media Shuts Down

 
raised-firsts-branded-tv

Who Is Winning The Marketing Revolution And Why?

 
shes-gotta-have-it

Netflix Orders ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ Series...

 
swedish-dicks-peter-stormare-keanue-reeves-viaplay

What Is ‘Swedish Dicks’ and Who Is Selling It?

 
seamlessly-she-monica-potter-aol-partner-studio-gmc-acadia

How GMC is Using the AOL Series ‘Seamlessly She’...

 
Netflix_new

Liberty Global to Put Netflix on Set-Top Boxes in 30 Countries

 
vincent-cacace-vertebrae

Getting to the Spine of VR’s Monetization Challenges with...

 
meredith_brandfront_videoink_300x250

Meredith Hosted Its Own “Front” Stacked with 20 New Series

 
complex-networks-hearst-verizon

Verizon and Hearst Move RatedRed.com and Seriously.TV Under...

 
Twitter

Twitter Launches Live Streaming Apps for Amazon Fire, Apple TV...

 
YouTube Community

YouTube Fights Back Against Social Media Rivals with Community Feature

 
Casual Hulu

Vimeo Opening Television Store with Lionsgate Content, Launching...

 
A Perfect Day in LA Tastemade Jaunt VR Virtual Reality

From Donuts to Malibu, Tastemade and Jaunt Get Immersive in...

 
Defy Media

Defy Media Close $70 Million Series B Funding Round

 
YouTube Space LA Halloween Set 2016

YouTube Spaces Team with Jason Blum (‘The Purge’)...

 
Yahoo Esports

‘Yahoo Esports Live’ Serves Up Reeses Puffs with...

 
univision

Univision and Lionsgate Team for SVOD Movie Service for U.S. Hispanics

 
People Entertainment Weekly PEN

People/Entertainment Weekly Ad-Supported OTT Service Preps for Launch

 
George_Kliavkoff Jaunt VR

Jaunt VR Hires Hearst Exec George Kliavkoff as CEO

 
Making a Murderer Netflix

‘Making a Murderer’ Scores for Netflix at Creative...

 
Future Man Hulu Josh Hutcherson

Hulu Orders ‘Future Man’ Series Starring Josh...

 
Heirloom Paten Hughes Tom Wopat Vimeo

How an Actress’ Real-Life Tomato Farm Inspired the New...

 
Robert Redford and Jane Fonda Electric Horseman

Netflix Rolls Camera on Robert Redford & Jane Fonda...