Monday, March 18, 2013

Do Its Owners Want To Keep Hulu?

Despite Hulu's success, its owners, Fox, Disney, and NBC may not want to stay with them.  NBC/Comcast has no active management of them because of its cable ownership and Disney has been mulling selling out.  With the departure of its CEO, Jason Kilar, Hulu's future ownership is uncertain.  And yet, all these ownership issues coming while Hulu is actually performing quite well. 

"Hulu’s monthly unique visitors totaled 24.1 million last month, who watched 709.9 million total videos, according to comScore. Meanwhile, Hulu served 1.44 billion ads in February 2013, representing 583 million minutes."  And Hulu believes ComScore may not be representing all its numbers from multiple over the top (OTT) devices.  Not only does Hulu have a successful ad sales model, it has built a subscription revenue model that tops some cable operator numbers, with "more than 3 million paying customers for the $7.99-per-month Hulu Plus service, according to Kilar."  And Hulu subs are growing while cable subs continue to decline. 

Perhaps ownership would prefer not being both content and distribution owners.  By ridding themselves of ownership of Hulu, they are free to charge Hulu higher rates for carriage of their product.  Perhaps too, they face the conflict that comes from negotiating license fee deal with cable operators with Most Favored Nation clauses that limit their profitability?  Or their problems with ownership are because they have differing strategic views on the future direction of Hulu?  So while Hulu may be performing well, internal issues exist they may change the ownership and direction of the brand.  Hey Apple, care to buy Hulu?

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