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News Update
Report: DIRECTV Will Buy Hulu For $1 Billion
By Swanni


Washington, D.C. (June 14, 2013) - This story is an update to our earlier coverage on the race to buy entertainment streamer Hulu. (See earlier articles below).

Is DIRECTV close to buying Hulu?

Quoting sources, PandoDaily.com is reporting that the nation's top satcaster has won the bidding for the online streamer, defeating six other groups that made offers, including Time Warner Cable and Yahoo.

The web site, which includes a number of ex-staffers from Tech Crunch, writes that DIRECTV's bid was approximately $1 billion and the official sale could be announced by month's end.

If the report is true, it would make DIRECTV an instant challenger to Netflix in the video streaming category. Hulu has roughly four million subscribers compared to Netflix's 30 million plus. But the former's sub numbers are growing fast, and under DIRECTV's roof, it would likely have even more resources and marketing power to accelerate its subscription drive. DIRECTV has more than 20 million subscribers which Hulu could target at the start.



Hulu's Hulu Plus service, which costs $7.99 a month, provides a mix of past and current season shows from a variety of networks and some movies, including a large number from the Criterion Collection.

Hulu would also provide DIRECTV an online entertainment service that would not only help it attract new subs but persuade current ones to connect their set-tops to the Internet, which would help drive orders of DIRECTV PPV movies.

PandoDaily says DIRECTV is the clear front-runner in the auction and the deal is in the advanced stages.

Below are our earlier stories on the bids for Hulu.
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Report: DIRECTV Bids $1 Billion Plus For Hulu
By Swanni


Washington, D.C. (June 2, 2013) - This story is an update to our earlier coverage on the race to buy entertainment streamer Hulu. (See earlier articles below).

DIRECTV and two unknown groups have bid more than $1 billion each to buy the streaming entertainment service, Hulu, according to Reuters.

The Los Angeles Times and other news sources reported a week that seven groups/individuals have made bids to buy Hulu, which now has more than four million subscribers. Hulu's Hulu Plus, which costs $7.99 a month, offers a mix of TV show episodes and movies online.

Hulu is owned by a consortium of NBC Universal, News Corp. and Disney and Disney exec Anne Sweeney said at an industry conference last week that there's no guarantees that they eventually sell the streamer despite the bids. However, Reuters writes that the $1 billion plus offers makes it more likely that a sale will be completed.

Several news articles last week said that Yahoo, one of the seven reported bidders, was willing to pay between $600 million and $800 million. But if the Reuters account is correct, the three $1 billion plus bids would seem to put them ahead.

The news service added that Hulu's owners will "whittle down" the list of seven in the next two to three weeks.

For DIRECTV, Hulu would provide an online entertainment service that would not only help it attract new subs but persuade current ones to connect their set-tops to the Internet, which would help drive orders of DIRECTV PPV movies.

And for Hulu's owners, DIRECTV has the deep pockets that would enable it to continue paying handsome prices for content for Hulu from companies such as NBC Universal, News Corp and Disney.

Below are our earlier stories on the bids for Hulu.
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News Update
Hulu: And Now There Are Seven
By Swanni


Washington, D.C. (May 27, 2013) - This story is an update to our earlier coverage on the race to buy entertainment streamer Hulu. (See earlier articles below).

Yahoo and two others on Friday joined the list of groups/individuals that have made bids to buy the streaming service Hulu.

Several news reports write that Yahoo has bid between $600 million and $800 million for Hulu which provides streaming TV shows and movies to more than four million subscribers. In addition to Yahoo, the private equity firm KKR and the William Morris talent agency have made bids, according to The Los Angeles Times and other news sources.

Earlier, the Los
Angeles Times reported that DIRECTV, Time Warner Cable, former News Corp. President Peter Chernin and the private equity fund, Guggenheim Digital Media, have also made bids for Hulu.

Amazon, which also kicked the tires on the streaming service, now reportedly is out of the bidding.

For Yahoo, Hulu's combination of subscription and advertising fees could help the re-building online company generate more revenue, particularly if it's able to maintain content partnerships at reasonable rates. There has been speculation that Hulu owners -- a consortium of NBC Universal, News Corp. and Disney -- are interested in a buyer that will continue to pay handsomely for content, much of which is owned by the trio.

Yahoo earlier this month paid $1.1 billion for the blooging tool Tumblr.

Below is our original story on Hulu's first four bidders.
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Washington, D.C. (May 24, 2013) -- The Los Angeles Times reports that four groups/individuals have made bids to buy the streaming service Hulu: DIRECTV, Time Warner Cable, former News Corp. President Peter Chernin and the private equity fund, Guggenheim Digital Media.

DIRECTV and Time Warner Cable have been reportedly linked to interest in Hulu which now provides streaming entertainment to more than four million subscribers. Chernin has also expressed some interest in Hulu while Guggenheim seems to be a new player in the sweepstakes.

This is the second time that Hulu has been put up on the auction block. The company's owners -- a consortium of News Corp., Disney and NBC Universal (although it does not participate in management decisions) -- tried to sell Hulu in 2011 but pulled the service off the market for several reasons, including low bids.

While Hulu's subscriber base badly trails Netflix, the company has been growing steadily and is expected to hit six million subscribers by year's end. Hulu's Hulu Plus service, which costs $7.99 a month, provides a mix of past and current season shows from a variety of networks and some movies, including a large number from the Criterion Collection.

Amazon and Yahoo also have expressed interest in buying Hulu, according to past news reports, but there was no indication yesterday that the two companies issued bids.

Below is our original story on DIRECTV and Hulu.
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Washington, D.C. (May 20, 2013) -DIRECTV is the latest company to express interest in buying the video streamer Hulu, joining Time Warner Cable, Amazon and Yahoo, among others, according to The Wall Street Journal.

WSJ and other news sources such as Reuters say the DIRECTV-Hulu talks are in the preliminary stages, but that the satcaster is serious about doing more than kicking the tires.

Although DIRECTV reportedly wanted to buy Hulu in 2011 when its owners briefly put it on sale (being removing it from the market), many industry observers are puzzled over DIRECTV's interest. The satcaster now has more than 20 million pay TV subscribers while Hulu just passed the four million mark and badly trails Netflix in the streaming category. (Netflix has more than 29 million streaming subscribers in the U.S.)

So why would DIRECTV care about Hulu?

For DIRECTV, the deal makes sense because it's historically had difficulty persuading its subscribers to connect their set-tops to the Net. Patrick Doyle, DIRECTV's chief financial officer, said in March that only three million, or 15 percent, of DIRECTV subscriber boxes are connected to a Broadband Internet service.

The reasons for this shortfall are many, but
the biggest problem is that DIRECTV does not offer an Internet service, nor do their set-tops have a simple Wi-Fi feature. To put it nicely, it's not easy for the average DIRECTV owner to make the connection.

DIRECTV plans (finally) to launch a Wi-Fi HD DVR later this year, but the move may come too late to single-handedly get folks to connect. At this point, DIRECTV subscribers who want access to video streaming have resorted to using Smart TVs, Blu-ray players, digital media players and gaming consoles to watch Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. They got tired of waiting for DIRECTV to offer a simple solution.

And this is bad for DIRECTV because it has its own downloadable VOD service, called DIRECTV Cinema. If DIRECTV subscribers are using non-DIRECTV Net connections to access services such as Netflix, they are not using DIRECTV Cinema, which means less money in DIRECTV's pockets.

So to get DIRECTV subscribers to go through the trouble of connecting their set-tops, the satcaster needs to offer something compelling enough. And that's where Hulu comes in. While it's not Netflix, Hulu has a cachet and content library that DIRECTV Cinema does not. If DIRECTV offered Hulu's streaming VOD service as part of its programming packages, the company's subs might be more likely to connect.

And if they connect their HD DVRs to the Net to watch Hulu, they might be more likely to give DIRECTV Cinema a try as well.

Also See:
Top 100 Digital Media Players

Top 100 Blu-Ray Players

Today's 10 Best-Selling Blu-ray Titles

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