Tuesday, March 26, 2013

For Sale, One Streaming Video Service

As streaming video is the backbone of an aggregated media service, the field has been attracting new entrants to the market.  of course, there is Hulu, Netflix, Vudu, Redbox, and AmazonHBO GO is considering a streaming model without a cable subscription.  And yesterday, Spotify announced its plans to add to its music service with video streaming. So considering the interest and growth in this platform, one set of owners wants to cash out. 

"Hulu's board has approached companies that might be interested in buying the over-the-top video provider, Reuters is reporting."  Its owners, Disney/ABC, News Corp/Fox, and Comcast/NBC, have differing ideas of the business.  Comcast/NBC has limited involvement because of its cable ownership, "News Corp. would prefer a TV Everywhere model while Disney supports an ad-supported model."  And so, once a price is agreed upon, two of the partners might just sell their shares to the third, or all three will be exiting the business.  Perhaps, a download business that Apple iTunes has enjoyed might consider buying in as a quick entrance into the streaming field. 

Of course, this release is not new news; it has been in the press for some time.  But given the growth in the industry and the insatiable demand for online video content, doesn't even partial ownership of an aggregated model offer some enhanced benefits?  Do they each believe that the consumer will hop from site to site in search for content to consume rather than prefer a platform that can search and recommend across all content?  Given that each of these partners represent multiple networks, they may think consumers will be happy searching within the parent brand, but consumers care more about the title of the content, not who presents it.  Selling Hulu might just be for them a misstep. 

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