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: , , , , , , , ,


AlecShankman_VideoInk_300x250

Digital Dealmakers: Alec Shankman – Shaping the Then, and...

 
Digital video industry news today

News to Know: theAmplify Acquired, Hulu Orders...

 
Allen_Debevoise_300x250_VideoInk

Power Sixer: Allen DeBevoise Continues to Push Third Wave of Media

 
Webby Awards took place last night!

Five Branded Content Takeaways From the Webby Winners

 
Industry Tickets Selling Fast!
Click above to lock in your registration for VidCon 2015!
 
YouTube Money

YouTube Cries Uncle: Videos Will Earn Revenue While Content ID...

 
Jonathan Skogmo, Jukin Media

Power Sixer: Meet Jonathan Skogmo, Jukin Media’s King of...

 
DreamWorks Animation

Controlling Interest in AwesomenessTV in NBCUniversal’s...

 
Wet Hot American Summer Netflix

Netflix Orders More ‘Wet Hot American Summer’

 
Judy McGrath Astronauts Wanted

Power Sixer: Meet Judy McGrath, Astronauts Wanted’s Lead...

 
Amina_Canter_VideoInk_300x250

Digital Dealmaker Amina Canter Is Bringing Traditional Chops to...

 
Studio71 Paramount

Digital Influencer Features Make the Majors with...

 
JC_Cangilla_VideoInk_300x250

Who’s the Man Behind Newform Digital’s Many Deals?...

 
Machinima hired James Glasscock as SVP of Strategy and Business Development

Questions & Answers with 2016 Digital Dealmaker James Glasscock

 
Univision Creator Network

Univision Creator Network Now Has Beauty and Fashion Vertical

 
Flula Borg

YouTube Music Star Flula Borg Signs with Studio71

 
Susanne Daniels

Power Sixer: Meet Susanne Daniels, the Force Behind YouTube Originals

 
JimmyMaymann

Power Sixer: Meet AOL’s Global Kingpin Jimmy Maymann

 
Dealmakers2016_600x250

Introducing the 2016 Digital Dealmakers

 
kendall_rhodes01

Dealmakers 2016: Kendall Rhodes from Untitled Entertainment

 
PowerSixer2016

Introducing the 2016 Power Sixers!

 
FilmStruck

Turner Teams with Criterion for FilmStruck SVOD Service...

 
Jason Goldberg STX Entertainment

STX Taps ‘Punk’d’ Creator Jason Goldberg to...

 
oculus for consumers

How quickly will online video transition to VR?

 
Bret Easton Ellis Fullscreen

‘American Psycho’ Author Bret Easton Ellis Signs Up...

 
Netflix_new

Netflix Begins Production on ‘Okja,’ Sparks...

 
walkinthewoods3-xlarge

Amazon Signs Multi-Year Output Deal with Broad Green Pictures

 
DollarsMoving_VideoInk_300x250

Why Getting TV Dollars to Go Online Is Easier Than You Think

 
INTX_300x250_VideoInk

Why Disruption Is the New Best Friend of the Online Video and TV...

 
Tyler James Williams RePlay New Form Digital Go90

Ex-‘Everybody Hates Chris’ Star Talks Going Mobile...

 
All Def Digital

All Def Digital Launches In-House Creative Agency Targeting...

 
Facebook Live Cafe Latte Tastemade 2

Because It’s Facebook, Stupid: Why Facebook Live is...

 
TrevorStevens_VideoInk_300x250

‘Rock Steady Row’ Feature Gets Picked Up By SUPERGRAVITY

 
Bryan Cranston, Eric Berger, Kate Bosworth and Dennis Quaid at Crackle’s upfront presentation held at the New York City Center on April 20, 2016.

Crackle Unveils Originals Slate, ‘Break-Free’ and...

 
NathanBrown_VideoInk_300x250

Nathan Brown Lands at Discovery Digital Networks

 
RYOT

AOL Acquiring VR Studio RYOT to Bring Immersive Video to...

 
Abrams_Talent_300x250

Abrams Artists Adds Two Talent To Alt Programming Roster

 
Seeso_Logo_VideoInk_300x250

NBC’s Seeso Looks to Boost Audience Via Amazon Prime Deal

 
Tidal

Tidal Announces New Original Series With BET —...

 
Microsoft Pulse

Microsoft Wants Companies to Take Video Pulse to Measure Engagement

 
SawyerHartman_200x200

Exclusive: Sawyer Hartman Signs with Untitled Entertainment