Thursday, May 16, 2013

What If The Cable Providers Owned Hulu?

Today, Hulu is owned by three cable/broadcast networks - NBC, ABC, and FOX.  And according to reports, they can't seem to agree on the strategic direction of the company, free or subscription.  Most likely, because of the nature of the deals they also have with their cable distribution partners.  Jason Kilar, the founder of CEO is no longer running the show and the partners have been discussing plans to sell.

So while a number of names have been bandied about, now comes word that Time Warner Cable was interested in purchasing it.  Perhaps, too, the Comcast side of the NBC family would want to stay invested and work with TWC on the next stage of Hulu.  If owned by cable distribution companies, the thought is that Hulu would be used to provide content authentication for cable.  Possible, but a sure fire way to end the subscription side of the Hulu revenue business model. And ABC is already moving forward with its own authenticated streaming app for live programming.  If I were running Time Warner Cable, I would rather want to build my own TWC authenticated streaming app so that my brand remained front and center to the consumer.  That my own air line-up was linked to the app and that it was ergonomic in design and simple to use, both for search and recommendation, and for advancing the TV Everywhere concept.  I don't believe a Hulu acquisition delivers that to TWC or Comcast.

And while TWC may have their own reasons to wanting to buy Hulu, others are also kicking the tires.  "Last month, former News Corp. chief Peter Chernin was reported to have a $500 million bid for Hulu, which he helped found in 2007. Bloomberg reported earlier this month that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer was exploring a bid for Hulu as she looks to reignite Yahoo's online video strategy. and Guggenheim Partners reportedly have also shown interest in Hulu."

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