Hulu might get sold

Anyone wanna buy a Hulu? The online TV show and movie repository is widely rumored to be on the block with Yahoo said to be kicking the tires. All this according to the LA TImes, which points out that although Yahoo approached Hulu about a sale, it was done kind of out of the blue. Hulu has not retained the usual brace of advisors that would presage a sale. In fact, the company recently had a restructuring, giving more power to oft-embattled CEO Jason Kilar. But things have been grumbly at Hulu for a long time because it's a business jointly owned by a bunch of TV networks that doesn't pay the networks in the manner to which they have grown accustomed. Personally, I have a hard time imagining a Yahoo-owned Hulu getting anywhere near the same level of permissions to show these programs. Another rumor floating around is that Kilar could become CEO of the joint Yahoo-Hulu (Yahulu?) replacing Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz.

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John Moe is the host of Marketplace Tech Report, where he provides an insightful overview of the latest tech news.
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Hi John,
I heard your Hulu report this morning. It's too bad you didn't put in a line or two to describe how Hulu was scabbed together hastily by the participant networks (kicking & screaming all the way) in a sad attempt to respond to their programs being posted on YouTube (not Netflix, as you implied, which rose later) and shared all over the 'net without so my as a by-your-leave, much less a chance to catch any fees for use at all.

Given the way the thing was formed I'm amazed that it's lasted this long. The aggregate replay rights fees, now that Netflix has established a market for them, may represent some real money, but as you suggested, moving that catalog along profitably with all the 'cooks in the kitchen' may be very, very difficult.

Pretty soon, tho, the network execs who are inured to old tv-network business models will be overcome (one way or another) and the Netflix/YouTube/Web forward-looking models of video content distribution will come into place. Hulu may break apart if younger execs see varied opportuities, or someone may see the value in keeping the site and the aggregate of the material. Interesting stuff.


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