After the billion dollar bidding war for Hulu fizzled on Friday, it seemed like the streaming site's cabal of owners — Fox, NBC, and Disney — were ready to run with Hulu on their own, but a new report suggests a fourth partner might be joining the already crowded view from the top. Time Warner lost the Hulu auction like every other bidder, but they may not be done with Hulu just yet. Bloomberg's Alex Sherman and Andy Fixmer report the cable company is in talks to buy a stake in the premium streaming service. How much of a partner TWC will become is unclear, but Bloomberg says they were previously looking for a 25 percent stake in the company, and everything could be completed in the next two weeks.
If you're wondering what this could mean for Hulu and what it might change, this not-very-popular cable company joining the fray, look no further than the pre-sale assessment of Hulu offers from The New York Times' Brian Stelter and Amy Chozik. The dynamic duo reported Time Warner wanted to use Hulu to "create an industrywide 'TV Everywhere' hub in which subscribers could have access to network and cable shows on-demand." Whether that means Hulu would have to restrict access to Time Warner subscribers only is unclear. It's also unclear if the other Hulu owners would approve a move like that. It should also be noted that this was Time Warner's plan when they were planning to acquire all of Hulu, and not a seat at the boardroom table. But, still, this was the original intention.
But it's also hard not to see why Time Warner would want to get in on the Hulu game now. The existing owners turned down huge offers because they think the service will be worth considerably more a few years down the line. Hulu will be lucrative enough that its existing owners just injected $700 million into Hulu's funding. The site will eventually be expected to make that money back, of course. Any company with an opportunity to ride that wave, and cash out in the end, would be foolish not to take it.