Hulu is no longer for sale.
The company issued a statement reading:
Since Hulu holds a unique and compelling strategic value to each of its owners, we have terminated the sale process and look forward to working together to continue mapping out its path to even greater success. Our focus now rests solely on ensuring that our efforts as owners contribute in a meaningful way to the exciting future that lies ahead for Hulu.
So there it is: we're awesome and aren't going to sell because we want to keep our awesomeness to ourselves. That's not quite it, according to TechCrunch who says bidders weren't willing to come anywhere near Hulu's asking price because of the length of rights agreements to all those TV shows and movies.
Hulu's owners wanted above $2 billion, but only guaranteed streaming rights for a couple of years. Google reportedly offered around $4 billion, but wanted the streaming rights for much longer. The value of Hulu is in the content deals it has with its owners to stream NBC, Fox, and ABC television series over the Internet. If those rights were to disappear in two years, Hulu's value would drop significantly. Hence, the lowball offers.
So does this signal the start of a long, slow starving to death of Hulu? It's always been a bit of a fanciful kumbaya situation, really: all those TV networks working together to bring something free/cheap to the world? Eventually all those drum circles and that smell of patchouli get old.
“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VABEFORE YOU GO