Google and Yahoo! get serious about Hulu
Hulu, the premium online venue for streaming video and TV shows, has attracted a lot of attention from search giants Google and Yahoo! in recent months after its vendors announced plans to sell in June.
Since then, it has received interest from Microsoft, AOL, Netflix, Amazon and Apple – companies that could stand to reap tremendous benefits in terms of advertising, content strategy and distribution channels.
Google initially made a bid for Hulu back in July – the conditions of which have yet to be disclosed.
Yahoo! is understood to have since started bidding, with amounts on offer expecting to range from $500 million up to $2 billion depending on the licensing.
Hulu is currently owned by a consortium controlled by Disney, Comcast and NewsCorp, delivering premium shows to US viewers and supported by in-presentation advertising.
The TV programs are licensed to the owners of the company, making the streaming of content perfectly legal within the US.
If Google does manage to gain ownership of the company, it will be able to access programs and content otherwise unreachable by other companies.
TV shows could be pushed through to proprietary YouTube channels, or made available through dedicated Android apps.
For Yahoo!, the opportunity to increase its revenue streams through advertising would make Hulu an obvious target for acquisition.
The search company is understood to have made an unsolicited bid for the streaming video site before its owners had even opened the floor to potential buyers.
Issues with licensing have prevented Hulu from making its content available to the international market.
Currently, users from Australia and other countries are not able to access any content – users from outside the US are greeted with an apology notice and a sign-up form that hints at future plans, but no new developments have been announced.