It appears Yahoo may be on a popular website buying binge.
On the heels of its Tumblr announcement, the web search giant now has its eyes on another Internet mega success: Hulu. According to TechCrunch, the streaming video service is being sought after by quite a few different companies, including DirectTV, Time Warner Cable and Yahoo.
This isn’t the first time Hulu has sought a new owner, and it’s not the first we’ve heard of Yahoo showing major interest either – this time to the tune of $500 or $600 million, purportedly.
According to TechCrunch, back in 2011, Hulu attracted interest from companies like Dish, Amazon, Google, and Yahoo — with most bids reportedly in the range of around $1.5 billion to $2 billion. Google reportedly bid a lot more, but it was looking for major assurances in terms of Hulu’s content licenses, something that the site’s owners, News Corp and Disney, were unwilling to give.
Back then, there were serious questions around what Hulu’s bidders were actually getting for all that cash. That’s one of the reasons that they couldn’t find a satisfactory fit, and why ultimately they decided to take Hulu off the block. But many of those same questions remain, and are even more problematic as another round of bids go forward.
One of the biggest questions that any bidder will face as it considers buying Hulu is what content rights the company will have and for how long. Since its founding, Hulu has had exclusive access to content from three of the four major broadcast networks, but it’s become increasingly clear that exclusivity is probably not in the best interests of Fox, ABC, or NBC.
At the end of the day, Hulu generates a fairly small amount of incremental revenue for the networks, compared to the amount that they make from advertising on TV, said TechCrunch. And making Hulu the exclusive home of broadcast TV online is likely costing the networks additional incremental money that they could be making if those rights were freed up for bids from competing services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video, or even YouTube.