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: , , , , , , , ,


Meredith Foster just signed with Collective Digital Studio

Collective Digital Studio Signs YouTube Beauty Star Meredith Foster

HBO_image

HBO’s Streaming Service Settles on Name, Price

Felicia Day in YouTube's #DearMe campaign for women

YouTube Stars Promotes Women’s Empowerment with #DearMe Campaign

foxdigitalstudio

Fox Digital Studio Locks in Tribeca Premiere for Feature Comedy...

BrokenTV

Multi-Platform Viewing in the US: More Are Watching...

NewsToKnow

Wednesday 3.4.15: News to Know

Leonardo DiCaprio and Netflix to make documentaries

Leonardo DiCaprio Teams with Netflix to Make More Documentaries

The Walking Dead 3-4-15

Dish’s Internet-TV Service Now Has Cable’s Biggest Show

Sony Project Morpheus 3-4-15

Sony Shows Off Updated Project Morpheus, Sets 2016 Release

ron howard

Discovery’s New Form Inks First-Look Deal with Lisa...

Geico YouTube

Geico Made YouTube Ads That You Wouldn’t Skip Even If You Could

NBCDigital

REPORT: NBCU Targets Comedy SVOD Service for 2015

Community

WATCH THIS: ‘Age of Yahoo’ Trailer for...

Netflix Beasts of No Nation

Netflix Finishes Deal for Idris Elba War Drama ‘Beasts of...

Machinima_logo_red

Machinima Hires First-Ever Chief Revenue Officer

NewsToKnow

Tuesday 3.3.15: News to Know

RLJ Entertainment's Urban Movie Channel

RLJ Entertainment Adds on Acquisitions Execs

Discovery Seeker

Discovery Launches Seeker, a Digital Network Focused on...

2 Chainz smokes a giant weed pipe

2 Chainz Smokes ‘Most Expensivest’ Joint in Season...

Weird Al looks bemused...

Above Average Debuts New Season of ‘Sound Advice’...

Netflix is coming to Australia

Netflix Confirms Launch Date for Australia, New Zealand

Decoding TVOD Event

Decoding TVOD with Vimeo and VHX: How to Sell Directly to Your Fans

NetFlix

Netflix Buys Idris Elba-Starring War Drama ‘Beasts of No...

wet hot american summer

Netflix Sets Premiere Dates for ‘Wet Hot American...

NCAA March Madness

March Madness Is (Officially) Coming to YouTube

newfronts

AOL Unveils Cast, Premiere Date for First Long-Form Series

Arianna Huffington 3-2-15

‘Venture into the Extraordinary’ with 7 Days of...

cbs interactive

CBS Interactive Launches In-House Branded Content Studio

Buzzer_480x400_100B_wg (2)

Driven by Facebook, Fox Sports Nets Huge Viewership for...

NewsToKnow

Monday 3.2.15: News to Know

YouTubeMusic

The 2015 YouTube Music Awards Announces Winners, with Original...

WebMD

WebMD Teams with Robin Roberts to Launch First Original Series

Today Show on YouTube 3-1-15

5 Emerging TV Channels on YouTube

Virtual Reality in VideoInk

So When Will Virtual Reality Reach the Masses? The End of 2016?

Virtual Reality in VideoInk

How Video Creators Have Explored the Cool and Weird Corners of VR

vice

Vice Media to Launch Channel for Women

NewsToKnow

Friday 2.27.15: News to Know

FRANCE DAILYMOTION

Dailymotion: the French Online Video Champion Is 10 Years Old...