Bids will be submitted on Wednesday and could range anywhere between $500 million and $2 billion dollars. Offers will not only include a dollar amount, but a plan for the type of content the new ownership would seek to offer in the future. But who will be best fit for Hulu?
Looking at it from the consumer side, Hulu needs to find an owner that will more or less allow them to operate as they already have been, because Hulu's product isn't bad. Hulu doesn't even seem to really be struggling in any significant way. They have things figured out and understand where this whole IPTV thing is heading. So the ideal purchaser would not just pay the most money, but also let Hulu be Hulu. Let's examine:
I love DirecTV for extending the life of Friday Night Lights and will be forever grateful. Entrusting the future of television, however, to a satellite provider probably isn't the best course of action here. DirecTV does have some awesome tech-facing products, like their iPad app and NFL Sunday Ticket on PS3, and one could argue they have the industry connections to get content into the service. But when surveying the rest of the TV landscape, something about DirecTV just doesn't scream POWER PLAYER at me. There's also the nightmare scenario to considere where Hulu becomes an exclusive to DirecTV subscribers. Shudder.
Remember how awesome Flickr was five years ago? Notice how it looks and feels the exact same as it did then, with almost no major updates or feature additions to compete with the likes of Facebook and Instagram? That's exactly why I don't want Yahoo touching Hulu with so much as a 10-foot pole.
Honestly, Google buying Hulu wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. The internet runs through Google. They can make things happen. They're probably the one company on this list who could devise some sort of ad-supported freemium plan for Hulu. But Google already has a video service of their own, which they say they're committed to acquiring content for. That would make things a little tense and awkward down the road, would it not? Add in the platform wars Google is currently involved in with Apple and Microsoft, and the fact that Google's obsession with research-based product development yields products only robots feel comfortable with, and one is left with reservations about the future of Hulu in the hands of Google.
Everything about Amazon and Hulu partnering up on paper just seems right. Amazon understands the internet. But they have deep pockets and an established base of users, which means worst case scenario, they can afford throw money at Hulu and reap rewards from it. Amazon has a fledgling streaming subscription service which shows they're eager to make moves in IPTV, but it pales in comparison to its competition (namely Hulu and Netflix). They're mostly platform agnostic, which means that Hulu likely won't become part of some power play for market share. And they seem like the type of company that would be content with letting Hulu operate as its own entity (as a product brand, at least). Also, just imagine the possibility of getting a free Hulu Plus subscription when you sign up for Amazon Prime. It'd be awesome, no?
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