Hulu's Investors Consider Buying One Another Out, Could Shape Pricing Models

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News Posted: Sun, Mar 3 2013 5:36 AM
In the world of streaming media (and streaming content in particular), Hulu has become a gigantic name -- right up there with the likes of Netflix and Amazon. And that's partly because of the huge names behind it. Both News Corp. and Walt Disney Company have a stake in Hulu, and according to a new report, the two giants are talking behind closed doors. About what? About a potential buyout. It seems that discussions are ongoing that could see either News Corp. or Walt Disney Co. buy one or the other's stake out, with control of Hulu going to whichever company did the buying.


Each company owns about a third of Hulu, so if they combine, there's your majority stake. It is also reported that these two are "discussing selling Hulu or changing the business model," while leaving Comcast on as a minority investor. Reportedly, Disney is more in favor of the ad-supported business, while News Corp. prefers subscriptions.

What's interesting is that there's no clear word on which company would prefer to do the buying. Usually, one company prefers its own ways over another, and asks the other to allow a buyout. But here, it seems that both sides are on the table. Whichever one wins, it may very well shape the future of how Hulu pricing is depicted.
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RTietjens replied on Sun, Mar 3 2013 11:28 AM

The problems with Hulu are (1) the "subscription model" is *still* ad-supported; (2) the interface of Hulu Desktop isn't compatible with Windows Media Center, which is arguably the most-popular way to watch media on a PC; (3) many shows remain unavailable on devices which are not PCs (such as the Roku) even when the subscriber has paid for Hulu Plus (can you say "bait & switch?"). Furthermore, Comcast, as a bandwidth provider, ought to be forbidden to also be a content provider because they have already demonstrated that they can and will take anti-competitive measures to protect their content-provider service from Netflix, Amazon, etc.

The American broadband scene is a mess due to non-compete monopolies, and until that's fixed, Hulu isn't going be really relevant.

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