As Hulu prepares itself to go to the highest bidder, the bids are expected to be, well, pretty darn high.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Hulu, which is currently operated as a joint venture between several TV and media companies, will look to accept buyout bids beginning on Wednesday.
Among the interested buyers are Amazon, Yahoo, DirecTV, and Google. The latter, of course, has already made history with one rather large online video streaming website (cough, Youtube).
But the others are unlikely to let Google snatch up Hulu without a fight. According to the WSJ, bids are expected to be as high as $2 billion.
The question is really who can bring more value to Hulu than it already has. The site has managed to gain a strong following but it faces stiff competition.
Hulu, which started as a centralized, albeit limited, hub for users to stream recent TV episodes, is now a full-fledged digital video service and is arguably Netflix’s closest and most direct competitor.
The site’s premium Hulu Plus subscription service allows users to gain access to thousands of hours of TV shows and movies, many of which are not available on Netflix’s extensive digital library. The biggest selling point is Hulu’s access to recent TV content; many shows are available to stream less than 24 hours after they air on live cable or broadcast stations. Netflix’s TV library is significantly more outdated.
Additionally, Hulu Plus subscribers can stream videos directly through dedicated apps on platforms like the PS3, Internet-connected TVs and Blu-ray players, and smartphones.
In order for Hulu to be truly successful, though, it needs more differentiating factors. Whoever the successful buyer is will need to bring that to the table.