For a good few weeks there, the web media world was all abuzz with the news of the possible sale of Hulu. We speculated on who the potential buyers might be, with reports suggesting everyone from Google to Yahoo might be involved in negotiations. And a new analyst report this week suggests that the bidders are down to Google and Amazon, and the Wall Street Journal says that bids are due this Wednesday.
The analyst in question, Eric Wold of Merriman Capital in San Francisco, says it's coming down to Google and Amazon, and that the final bids could be anywhere between $500 Million and $2 Billion.
Here's his quote:
"Given recent moves by Google and Amazon, as well as the importance of landing some key studio relationships and exclusive content, we would not be surprised if both Google and Amazon took the lead on initial bids — with a potential battle between the two of them.”
He doesn't believe Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility would keep them from going after Hulu--in fact, I know a lot of people who think that purchase actually signals a keen interest on the part of Google to ramp up streaming video offerings.
Wold also points out that Amazon's streaming service has direct competition from Netflix due to the huge overlap in their catalogs--a fact that might make Amazon as desperate as anyone to gobble up Hulu. He does believe it's possible that DirecTV is a player in the Hulu sweepstakes as well, but thinks they might lack the necessary resources to truly compete with big dogs Google and Amazon.
So who will purchase Hulu, and what will the final asking price be? As tantalizing as those questions may be, the most important question of all is: what changes will come to Hulu after they're acquired, and will the service grow or suffer as a result. We just can't really address that more-important question until the first two are answered, and it sounds like those answers might come this week.
Stay tuned... it could get really interesting.