Why does there always seem to be so much online video news coming out on Fridays? Christophor wrote this morning about the potential sale of Hulu: who the interested parties might be, and why they might want to buy the video property. Rumors have been swirling about potential buyers since it became public that Hulu was considering a sale, but there have been few details. Now, however, according to the L.A. Times, it appears that Google is in talks to acquire Hulu, along with Microsoft and Yahoo.
The paper quotes "people familiar with the situation" for the story. Which, as we all know, means relatively little. There's no regulation that governs what that means. It could be anyone from a CEO's teenage son to a janitor. And yet, one assumes there's still some amount of journalistic integrity at work, and that the Times has pretty good reason to publish the story.
Google To Acquire Hulu?
So let's assume for a moment that Google is attempting to purchase Hulu. The really fun question would be: why? Don't they already have the number one online video destination in the world? Aren't they already working on turning YouTube into a more well-rounded site with both amateur and professional content? Wait a minute... I just answered my own question, didn't I?
Acquiring Hulu lets Google skip ahead in their timeline for bringing more premium and high-quality video content to YouTube. Of course, as Christophor mentioned, the content deals Hulu has aren't indefinite, and will need to be extended by any new owner, which could be tricky.
But Hulu has many users, and has carved out a good section of the marketplace for itself. I tend to think that the film and television rights-holders would want to continue having their content on Hulu, at least for the near future.
Microsoft or Yahoo to Buy Hulu?
The paper also lists Microsoft's success with online video through the Xbox platform as a reason for their interest in Hulu. Yahoo, on the other hand, shut down their user-video section, and is focusing on premium content, giving them an excuse to participate in the talks as well.
I'm not sure either of the two companies are as serious a contender as Google. And I actually didn't think Google was going to be an active bidder in this one, to be honest. But Google is so much further ahead of Microsoft and Yahoo in video, if only by virtue of YouTube's status alone, that it just makes more sense for them to have more interest. It does to me, at least. I think the L.A. Times agrees, considering their headline only mentions Google.
I guess to be fair, we should really keep this important line from the Times story in mind:
"A Hulu spokeswoman declined to comment. A Microsoft spokeswoman could not provide immediate comment. Google and Yahoo could not immediately be reached for comment."
What do you think? Could we be seeing some of that old school rivalry and jealousy-induced bidding, where maybe one of these three buys Hulu just to spite the other two and keep them away from the property? Can you make as strong an argument for Yahoo or Microsoft wanting to buy Hulu more than Google would? Is there anything at all to any of these rumors?