Hulu is currently one of the leading premium streaming services on the Internet, with content from a wide array of networks and a full slate of original programming to boot. But depending on who ends up winning the billion dollar bidding war for the service, that all could change.
The streaming site, currently co-owned by NBC Universal, Fox, and ABC-Disney, is currently being shopped around to the highest bidder, fielding offers from Yahoo!, former News Corp. executive Peter Chernin bid, Time Warner Cable, and private equity firms Guggenheim Digital, KKR and Silver Lake Management. Each new owner is free to do whatever they please with their new toy after a sale is finalized. Yahoo! put ads in Tumblr's dashboard after their $1.1 billion purchase was finalized, for instance. According to a new report from The New York Times' Brian Stelter and Amy Chozick, Hulu may look completely different depending on who buy the streaming service:
Time Warner Cable, for instance, would like to use Hulu to create an industrywide “TV Everywhere“ hub in which subscribers could have access to network and cable shows on-demand. A distributor like DirecTV could use Hulu — both its brand name and its technology — to sell a new service that streams a bundle of television channels to subscribers over the Internet. Intel is trying to create a similar type of service; if it succeeds, then traditional distributors may feel the need to sell something similar.
Bids are due on Friday and, so far, DirectTV is the only company on record offering a deal close to what Hulu owners want. DirectTV and two mystery companies reportedly offered $1 billion for Hulu, the price point the cabal of owners have been looking for. Unfortunately for Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, it appears her company's "exploratory" bid for between $600 million and $800 million leaves them on the outside of this party looking in. They have until Friday to find some more coin in those deep pockets before they're left behind completely.