Saturday, August 6, 2011

Is Hulu A Good Acquisition Target?

It seems that a lot of big companies are kicking the tires on a Hulu acquisition. We've read about Apple and Google having some interest. Now comes word that DirecTV is considering a purchase. "One more potential Hulu acquirer has thrown its hat in the ring, with DirecTV admitting it has joined Apple, Yahoo, Google, Verizon, AT&T and Amazon in taking a look at the online video site’s financials. But while it’s an interesting opportunity, according to DirecTV CEO Mike White, he said the satellite TV firm has yet to determine if Hulu’s long-term business model makes sense for an acquisition." This news just when DirecTV announced a bad quarter for subscriber acquisition. Is Hulu the right fit with DirecTV let alone with any of the companies mentioned?

Apple may be kicking the tires for sport only as there is speculation that they are building their own rental business from scratch, licensing content from all the major studios and networks. DirecTV has linear and perhaps some on demand deals in place with the same content companies as Hulu. As the cable operators are fighting for streaming deals as extensions of their programming rights, DirecTV may be best served doing the same thing. Hulu may prove to be an added cost, but not the best means to promote the DirecTV brand. For Yahoo, it may be the only move left to compete with Google and You Tube.

Hulu wants to be sold because it's current partners most likely can't get along. Its hard to be a competitor in the network arena while acting as a partner in the digital space. Their best move is to sell out, take their money, and run. It just might not be the best long term deal for the buyers. Time will only tell.