After letting just about every big tech titan on the block swing by to kick the tires on Hulu, the conglomerate of Comcast, Disney and News Corp. has decided the best move is to keep the old gal after all. Bidder’s included heavyweight like Amazon and Google, who reports indicated was willing to pay a premium for the service.
In the end, the sale revolved around how much content was being promised along with Hulu, at what price and for how long. Even in the midst of the negotiations for a sale, networks like Fox were pulling back the amount of programming that made its way from television one night to Hulu the next morning.
But the networks seem to have decided that even a billion dollar sale and hundreds of million in annual licensing fees was not enough to make up for the lack of control, and potential danger, that selling Hulu to Google or Amazon would entail. Undoubtedly Google would have wanted to bring Hulu’s shows to YouTube and Amazon to their streaming service, Amazon Prime.
That would mean the networks would have two very big, savvy players in the digital ad market pushing their content on proprietary platforms. For an industry obsessed with keeping its programming locked down tight, and not upsetting its partners in the tradition television space, this might have been too much to swallow.
As Peter Kafka put it, “Because it’s the TV shows from those three companies that give Hulu almost all of its value. And while those shows have helped Hulu build a big Web business very quickly — Hulu has said it’s on track to generate $500 million in revenue this year — that’s not nearly as important to Hulu’s owners as their core TV business.”