There could be an interesting twist to the already-compelling tale of who is going to acquire Hulu. Because it looks as though money-is-no-object Google is playing hardball in its attempts to secure the longform content it has long desired.
Google Outmaneuvers Rival Hulu Bidders
The bids for Hulu are apparently all in and being mulled over by the company and its content partners. Four made the final cut, with three – Amazon, Yahoo, and the Dish Network – all hitting the $1.5 billion – $2 billion range for Hulu, Hulu Plus, and guaranteed rights to the content exclusively for two years. And then there is Google, which, according to AllThingsD, has rather more ambitious plans in mind.
What these ambitious plans actually are remains unclear, but sources are saying this is “a different acquisition, on a larger scale.” Which could mean a number of different things.
It isn’t even clear as to whether Google has entered a formal bid or has merely made a ballsy approach with an unwritten check in hand. Which may mean the whole process slows down from this point as Hulu decides what is in its best interests. Which may not be to take Google’s money, no matter how generous the offer.
YouTube + Hulu = Deadly Combination
The reason for this is that were Google to secure Hulu it would own a huge chunk of the online video sector. It already has YouTube, the most popular video destination on the Web, and adding Hulu and its longform content to its lineup would be a massive boon for the search giant.
Google knows that premium content is key, and that is where Hulu comes in. However, Hulu is owned (for the most part) by the same TV networks that are running scared of Google and its approach to offering up content for free and making money from advertising. Which could see them put a kibosh on any potential deal.
Can you imagine how powerful Google would become with both YouTube and Hulu under its wing? Too powerful for the networks, I’d suggest.
The Next Web predicts a Google/Hulu tie-up by Christmas, but I disagree. I think Hulu’s owners are more likely to take the safe option and sell to one of the other bidders. Unless, of course, these mysterious big plans are advantageous to the networks…