July 22, 2011

Rumors Say Apple is the Latest Bidder for Hulu


Like the only pretty girl at a dance, it's starting to look like everyone wants a turn around the floor with Hulu.

The on-demand streaming television service – whose owners are asking for bids – would appear to be attracting interest from all quarters, and today the latest suitor is Apple, says Bloomberg. A number of other organizations have reportedly expressed interest in acquiring Hulu, among them Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Yahoo and AT&T.

Apple currently has rather a lot of cash on hand and a desire to build the kind of service that would compete with Netflix. According to the Wall Street Journal, the purchase of Hulu would consume less than three percent of Apple's cash.

Hulu's current owners, Walt Disney Co., News Corp. and Comcast Corp.’s NBC Universal, are encouraging interested parties to bid on Hulu, dangling in front of them a five-year extension of program rights, including two years of exclusive access, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg this morning.

“Part of the ecosystem of Apple’s future is to include more video,” analyst Scott Sutherland from Wedbush Securities Inc. told Bloomberg. “It’s something they are focused on.”

Presumably, this is also the reasoning behind interest from all the other suitors, who have all dabbled in – or expressed interest in dabbling in – streaming on-demand video.

Hulu has rights to many popular network and cable television shows. In addition to Netflix, it competes with YouTube, which is owned by Google. Google has been trying to build YouTube up with premium content to be in a position to compete with other streaming video service. Like Hulu and Netflix, YouTube would charge for those offerings or subsidize them with advertising revenue, reported the Wall Street Journal.

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Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TechZone360. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell



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