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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Hulu For Sale: Why Amazon Should Be The Winning Bidder

Jacob Chung, Paresh Dave, Ankit Tyagi |
August 23, 2011 | 12:05 a.m. PDT


Image of Hulu from Creative Commons
Image of Hulu from Creative Commons

Companies looking to purchase video streaming website Hulu must submit their initial bids by Wednesday, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week.

The sale could bring Hulu’s current partners -- Disney, Fox and NBC Universal -- up to $2 billion combined. Among those rumored to be in the bidding are Google, Yahoo, Amazon and DirecTV. Consumers should be crossing their fingers that Amazon eventually comes out on top.


Amazon would probably pair Hulu up with its online cloud offerings and Netflix-like movie and television show streaming service.

Utilizing the advertising platform from Hulu combined with the paid streaming package is not the worst idea for Amazon as a company. Consumers could end up with all three options to choose from for most shows: ad-supported viewing of recent episodes, pay-per-stream for any episode and monthly flat-rate for unlimited ad-free viewing.

Forbes also agrees that Amazon would be the best buyer in the short-term.


Google likely sees Hulu as a threat to YouTube, which is the online leader in attracting eyeballs to videos. The problem is the actual amount of time spent watching videos, and advertisements, is larger at Hulu. Google control of Hulu could mean more ads and higher costs to watch videos on Youtube, which could be scary for consumers.

One of the positives from a Google purchase would be a linear experience from Google TVs to Google set-top boxes to Hulu shows via Google on computers. A Google purchase of Facebook would certainly spur Facebook into action to somehow get a piece of the premium video experience.

There's also the question of antitrust concerns. Would both products being under the same roof be bad for competition? Maybe not so much because Google has not yet succeeded in the world of television advertising.


The satellite television company needs to make a move to counter rival Dish Network’s acquisition of Blockbuster. DirecTV could opt to hide some Hulu content behind a wall that only DirecTV customers can penetrate.


Yahoo probably wants to revitalize its product portfolio with something different and outside of its realm. But Yahoo has a knack for never actually improving products it buys. We don't see Yahoo really tying Hulu to an existing product, nor do we think the content-creating-focused company is going to end up with the content delivery company.

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