Hulu would seem to be the ideal streaming service. It’s got support from multiple broadcast networks and their partners. It sells advertising. It’s streaming seasons of “Cheaters”. But the streaming network just seemingly can’t crack the code that Netflix has, and as a result, is struggling to find the same success.
And, in the latest twist to the Hulu saga, the streaming network has just taken itself off the market. Again. Yes, Hulu, despite interest from DirecTV and Yahoo!, will be staying with the consortium of content producers that own it, and they’ll put another $750 million into it.
So, why do they keep putting Hulu on the market, only to yank it back off? Our guess is that anybody who wants to buy Hulu also wants something its current owners aren’t willing to give up… namely the streaming content that supports the service at a low price.
Currently, Hulu’s big selling point is the fact that you can catch new TV shows right after they air, and that the service keeps a few episodes of a show’s current and previous seasons in a rotating backlog. Hulu tends to pay less for those deals, since they’re showing ads, want fewer episodes for streaming and tend to support the show by offering embeddable clips as part of the service. Presumably, DirecTV and Yahoo! both wanted to keep those deals in place.
Secondly, Hulu is largely limited to the US, and while that may not bother DirecTV, we can see that annoying a company such as Yahoo!. Of course, the streaming content deals that cross borders are complex and expensive, and the current owners just may have decided to not bother.
Still, at least Hulu is still around, for now. But we’re starting to wonder how long it’ll be before the service is packed in for good by its owners.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.