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Google Bids 4 Billion for Hulu!

Discussion in 'More News from Your Google TV News Team' started by Rickaren, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. Rickaren

    Rickaren New Member Staff Member

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    Hulu’s highest bidders? Google and Dish Network

    September 27, 2011



    [​IMG]Streaming video service Hulu had its second series of bids from potential buyers ranging from $1.4 billion to $4 billion, reports Business Insider.


    The service, which provides ad-supported premium TV and film content to users, has been up for sale since June. Hulu’s owners — News Corp., Walt Disney, Comcast — would rather sell the service than continue to conflict over Hulu’s future business strategy.


    VentureBeat previously reported that the Hulu auction might not move forward if the offers aren’t high enough. However, two such bids are apparently being considered, according to the Business Insider report.


    Google had the highest bid at a reported $4 billion, but the deal had various stipulation attached to it, like more content for a longer period of time. Personally, I think that deal also contained stipulations about Google’s use of Hulu content through its Google TV platform, which would really give Google’s aspirations toward TV a huge boost.


    The other bid being seriously considered by Hulu owners is Dish Network’s $1.4 billion offer, which apparently has fewer (or no) stipulations. According to the report, Dish is willing to pay the price because its interested in the technology that powers Hulu. That tech would certainly be of value to Dish, which just started its own streaming video service that will indirectly compete with Netflix.


    None of the potential buyers apparently offered Hulu’s original $2 billion asking price with the conditions Hulu’s owners set.



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  2. ChrisG8

    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    I have wondered if Hulu blocking Google TV was done as additional motivation for Google to buy Hulu and I expected Google's offer to include contingencies that the existing content agreements be amended to include Google TV access. Not that Google TV access is a big reason to buy Hulu but it is one of many small reasons, the big reasons, advertising revenue primarily, better be really big to justify this kind of price.
     
  3. Rickaren

    Rickaren New Member Staff Member

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    Guess Who Made The Highest Bid For Hulu

    [​IMG]
    Sep. 27, 2011







    Remember how a group of bidders was circling around Hulu a couple weeks ago? Whatever happened with that?

    Two sources tell us that satellite TV provider Dish was the highest bidder, coming in around $1.9 billion. It beat out both Amazon and Yahoo.

    Google bid much more — something in the range of $4 billion. But that bid came with special conditions, as has been previously reported — Google wanted more content for a longer period of time, and perhaps other concessions as well.


    Rumor has it that Larry Page personally flew down to Los Angeles to make Google's case.


    Hulu's owners are still deciding what to do. They were hoping for a higher bid, and were disappointed that no company would offer more than $2 billion with the conditions they set.
    But the bidders all figured out pretty quickly that the TV companies who own Hulu now want to phase out free ad-supported content completely. So as soon as the current set of Hulu contracts expire in a couple of years, it would be back to the negotiating table.
    Dish was probably willing to bid more because, as we previously reported, it was also interested in Hulu's back-end technology — not just the content.


    What happens next is anybody's guess, but Dish or Google will probably end up with the prize. Unless Hulu's owners change their minds and reopen the bidding with a more lenient set of conditions. Or decide not to sell at all.




     
  4. Rickaren

    Rickaren New Member Staff Member

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    Dish Network to become Hulu's next owner?

    Dish was reportedly the most desirable bidder, if not the highest


    September 27, 2011



    [​IMG]

    Could Dish end up becoming Hulu’s next owner? Word on the street has it that Dish Network was the bidder with the most potential—not the highest bidder, interestingly, but the one with the least amount of conditions, according to sources who spoke with Business Insider.

    A Dish Network spokesperson declined to comment.

    The reports peg Dish Network’s bid at $1.9 billion, beating out Amazon and Yahoo, but Dish’s bid was less than half of Google’s bid of $4 billion. BUT, Google’s bid came with a few undesirable conditions, such as more content available for a longer period of time, among other things. It seems inevitable that Google also wanted something for Google TV, but the company did not respond to email inquiries from VatorNews. Larry Page reportedly flew to Los Angeles to lobby on Google’s behalf for Hulu.

    Dish Network would, no doubt, have plenty in store for Hulu now that it’s officially a player in the digital movie rental business. Last week, Dish unveiled its new Netflix competitor,
    Blockbuster Movie Pass, which will allow customers to stream movies and TV shows for only $10 a month. The catch is that 1) it’s only available to Dish subscribers, which means you have to pay $10 in addition to your regular subscription package, and 2) the streaming selection is still pretty limited with about 4,000 titles, only 3,000 of which are actually available to stream to your TV (the holidays are just a few months away. Can’t you picture you and your family snuggling up on the sofa around the Yule log channel you’re streaming to your laptop?).
    Interestingly, while Dish needs to be pumping up its content offerings if it wants to become a real competitor in the digital rental space, that’s not why it’s going after Hulu. Rumor has it that Dish is more interested in Hulu’s technology.

    If Dish ends up buying Hulu, it will be the second major acquisition Dish has made via auction this year. Back in April, Dish was the winning bidder for then-floundering Blockbuster, shelling out a cool
    $320 million.


    But Hulu may end up choosing not to sell at all. Hulu’s owners—News Corp, Disney, Comcast’s NBC Universal, and Providence Equity Partners—were reportedly hoping to get $2 million on their terms, but there were no takers this time around.

    News Corp COO Chase Carey acknowledged in News Corp’s last
    earnings call that Hulu may not sell at all: “We’ll see where it ultimately ends up. And I think for us, it’s still a decision to see where — what it looks like at the end. Does it make sense to pursue that path or does it make sense for us to stay in an ownership position and continue to have it driven by content owners.”
    Hulu and Google did not respond to inquiries from VatorNews.


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  5. eferz

    eferz Well-Known Member

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    They're the ones that I'm hoping would win. I currently subscribe to HuluPlus and use Hulu through PlayOn. So, I'm afraid that if Google acquired Hulu that the content owners will pull out their wares in a knee-jerk reaction as they've done with Google TV. If Dish Network owned Hulu on the hand, I could see more content providers partnering with Dish since Echostar (their parent company) is one of the largest channel line providers in the world. There would not be a conflict of interest when it comes to accessibility and profitability for the content owners if that deal goes through.
     
  6. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    I read the Business Insider article word-for-word - and while that article did indeed state that Google wants extra 'perks' in exchange for their 4 billion bid - no-where in that Business Insider article did it specifically state that this puts Google at a disadvantage.

    So what is this "word-on-the-street" (that Dish Network has the advantage), that the VatorNews is referring to? They don't even give a real source (other than the Business Insider article which made no such assumption)..

    Hmm Vator mews makes a vague mention of "sources that spoke to Business Insider" Yet Business Insider wrote this word for word in their article: "What happens next is anybody's guess, but Dish or Google will probably end up with the prize."

    I've never even heard of VatorNews......
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2011
  7. Rickaren

    Rickaren New Member Staff Member

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  8. Rickaren

    Rickaren New Member Staff Member

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    New Hulu bids due, but sale probability wanes

    Sun, Oct 2 2011


    LOS ANGELES

    - Second-round bids for the streaming start-up Hulu are due this week, but a sale looks less and less likely as the owners debate demands for conditions around the bids, according to individuals knowledgeable about the auction.


    The leading candidate is likely to be Dish Network, which has indicated a willingness to come close to the desired sale price of $2 billion.


    That price would be offered under the current content deals at Hulu, which is co-owned by NewsCorp, Comcast, Disney and Providence Equity.


    While that may be very close to the desired bid, the owners -- particularly NewsCorp CEO Rupert Murdoch -- have vacillated in recent weeks over whether a sale is the best outcome.
    Disney CEO Bob Iger is believed to be firmly in the 'sell' camp. But even he wants rock-solid assurances about the buyer before voting yes.


    At stake is the question of whether Hollywood's content companies are ultimately going to be principal players in the new world of digital streaming, or whether they will remain licensors of their products -- outside vendors.


    That long-term strategic question is what is causing hesitation on the part of the owners, since Hulu is a rare case of the content companies having launched a successful digital platform that is functional and growing.


    "People are waking up to the fact that this asset is working and it's still early in the game," said one of the knowledgeable individuals. "This has made them think about their role."
    Clearly the content companies would prefer to sell Hulu to a player they know well and who plays by the rules of the entertainment universe; that is most likely to be Dish Network, a satellite tv company.


    The content owners want to be sure that any new owner will build the company and create a bulwark against the rising force of Netflix.


    Meanwhile, Google -- a player from a very different culture -- has indicated its willingness to pay significantly (up to $4 billion) for the streaming service, but only if the current content deals are extended. Otherwise, Google is not expected to bid at all.


    Amazon is also expected to bid. Yahoo has not formally withdrawn, but the portal is itself on the auction block and in a state of uncertainty since the departure of CEO Carol Bartz.
    One person knowledgeable about the owners' thinking said that unless bids for the company under its current content deals come in at $2.5 billion and above, the discussion will be "difficult," and a sale less than likely.


    Complicating matters is that both Disney and NewsCorp have the ability to veto any sale. Comcast, because of its merger with NBC-Universal, has no vote at all.


    The individual also said there are several "wild card" candidates who may come in and bid.

    SOURCE
     
  9. ChrisG8

    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    I wanted Google to win because the Google requirements would be for firm content contracts that can't be cancelled by a knee-jerk reaction.

     
  10. Rickaren

    Rickaren New Member Staff Member

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    TV Companies Plan To Make Hulu Suck Even More Making It More Difficult To Sell Hulu

    from the well,-duh dept

    10/03/2011


    We've talked about how the entertainment industry is really good at killing the golden goose every chance it gets. Any time some new online service actually gets people to move away from infringement, the industry freaks out and complains that they're not making enough money from the service and then tries to kill it. For example, the TV folks have made it clear that they'd like to kill Hulu even though they own it. They're so worried about "cannibalizing" the old revenue streams, that they're killing off the new ones as well. We predicted this would happen a few years ago, and it's amusing to see it happening in real time.

    Because of the conflicts between what Hulu management (who do seem pretty clued in) and their ownership wanted to do with the company, Hulu was recently put up for sale. But, now it's coming out that the bids Hulu is receiving are much lower than the owners want -- and
    it's because they've made it clear they plan to cut off all free content from Hulu:

    But the bidders all figured out pretty quickly that the TV companies who own Hulu now want to phase out free ad-supported content completely. So as soon as the current set of Hulu contracts expire in a couple of years, it would be back to the negotiating table.



    Because of that, no one was willing to bid over $2 billion -- and the TV guys (of course) think it's worth a lot more than that, even as they're trying to kill it.

    Well, one exception: apparently Google was willing to pay closer to $4 billion... but it would only do that under certain conditions (which likely involve getting the TV guys to renew/guarantee future deals). So congrats, backwards looking TV guys, not only are you killing Hulu, you're killing the goodwill you build up via the company so you can't even cash out on that.


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  11. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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  12. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    How do you all feel about the reports that Google is 'transforming' YouTube to be more like a TV Network with 12 themed channels (such as sports, fashion, entertainment, etc)? They are paying independent content producers quite a bit of money to produce the content especially for YouTube (initially YouTube will have exclusive rights). The reports say Google intends for YouTube to compete with the cable TV industry.

    So a lot of it will be 'professionally' produced (even though it won't be coming from the major networks). And it's cheaper than major network produced licensing deals (and probably less of a headache). I will say this - Google has added quite a few free movies to YouTube along with other interesting 'stuff'. But will this independent content be good enough? (instead of mainstream TV shows from Hulu and the major networks)?
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2011
  13. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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  14. Rickaren

    Rickaren New Member Staff Member

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    Yahoo out as Hulu mulls other bids, report says

    October 10, 2011



    [​IMG] Actor Alec Baldwin starring in an old Hulu commercial.


    As Hulu executives determine the proper direction for the future of their company, the firm that was first to show interest in acquiring the streaming-video provider has withdrawn from the race, a new report claims.


    Currently, Hulu's board of directors is mulling bids from Dish Network, Amazon, and Google, The Wall Street Journal is reporting, citing anonymous sources. However, Yahoo, which first met with Hulu to discuss a possible acquisition, has backed out of trying to acquire the firm as it prepares to potentially sell off its own company.


    With Yahoo out of the way, it appears Dish Network is now the new front-runner to acquire the streaming-video service, the Journal is reporting. The company initially offered $1.9 billion for Hulu, according to the Journal, but has asked Hulu to change its bid. Google, on the other hand, is willing to pay more than $2 billion, but has required Hulu to agree to certain conditions before it can complete the deal, the Journal says.


    Talk of Hulu possibly being acquired kicked off earlier this year, when Yahoo reportedly approach the company about a possible buy. Although neither company confirmed it at the time, reports suggested Yahoo was willing to pay Hulu $2 billion, as long as the deal came with up to five years of exclusive access to current television shows.

    After talks of an acquisition cropped up, Hulu then engaged investment banks to help it field offers from other companies.

    Although Hulu might present some value to would-be buyers, so far the potential suitors have reportedly been careful with their bids. The issue is, Hulu's owners, NBC Universal, Fox, and ABC, haven't always been the most willing to share content on the Web. In fact, Fox recently made the decision to delay the availability of its content on Hulu. Previously, the company brought new episodes to the streaming service the next day after they aired, but now, it waits eight days.

    Hulu CEO Jason Kilar didn't comment publicly on that move, but in February he wrote in a blog post that television executives are unwilling to accept the changing ways in which people want to access content, which has only proven to hurt their companies.

    Aside from potential issues with content providers, it appears that a possible acquisition could be scuttled by Hulu's own board. According to the Journal, the board of directors is unsure if it really wants to sell the company, and could decide against it.


    Hulu did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment on what its plans might be.

    SOURCE
     
  15. Rickaren

    Rickaren New Member Staff Member

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    Last Call for Hulu

    The top bidder for the streaming site keeps changing.


    updated 10/9/2011


    There will be no Hulu for Yahoo!, but DISH Network, Google, and Amazon.com remain in the mix for the popular video-streaming website.


    The Wall Street Journal is updating the leaderboard this morning for the companies still in the hunt for Hulu. Google -- which has long been rumored to be offering a lot more money than its rivals but for broader content rights than what Hulu owners are willing to part with -- is apparently back in contention.

    Just two weeks ago, BusinessInsider.com was reporting that DISH was leading the pack of non-Google bidders with its offer of $1.9 billion. Amazon and Yahoo! were offering less, but still in the race. Both dot-com giants have the idle cash on their balance sheets to pull off the purchase if DISH were to somehow come up short or feel that it already has its hands full with its Blockbuster acquisition earlier this year.

    However, Yahoo! isn't mentioned at all in the latest update. It probably isn't a surprise to see it drop out of the bidding, especially now that Yahoo! itself may be up for sale.


    Google's name going back into the mix is interesting. Is the YouTube parent watering down its content demands? Is Hulu simply trying to milk a higher bid out of DISH or Amazon by playing the Big G card? It would seem that even if Google did win the bidding war, antitrust regulators would be very skeptical to let this one squeeze through.


    The Hulu sale will happen. The owners want -- and Comcastneeds -- it to happen. All three of the reported bidders would also be better with Hulu than without it.


    • DISH Network would be able to beef up its satellite television service and Blockbuster offerings with a strong streaming brand.
    • Amazon is already taking advantage of Netflix's volatility by beefing up its streaming catalog. Hulu would be the icing on the cake.
    • Google's YouTube is the world's top video-streaming site, but Google has struggled in the realm of premium streams. Its fledgling Google TV platform could also use a content-laden push.
    So stay tuned. This bidding war appears headed for a photo finish soon.


    SOURCE
     

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