All Things D has reported that according to numerous sources close to the situation, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has recently met with top execs at Hulu, the OTT subscription service offering ad-supported on-demand streaming video of TV shows, movies, webisodes and other new media, trailers, clips, and behind-the-scenes footage from NBC, Fox, ABC, TBS, and many other networks and studios. The media company owners have been contemplating the selling of it for some months.
The Internet giant has currently not made a formal bid, but if they want to get their hands on the video streaming company they might want to act fast – they are not the only ones who see Hulu’s potential.
Competition for Hulu may come from: Former News Corp. COO Peter Chernin, who now has a successful and well-funded multimedia and investment company called the Chernin Group; Guggenheim Partners digital arm, which is led by former Yahoo interim CEO Ross Levinsohn; and Amazon.
All Things D’s sources also say that Mayer also had an extensive getting-to-know-you meeting, which was apparently not held at Hulu’s offices in Santa Monica, Calif., along with COO Henrique De Castro.
This new try at an acquisition comes after Yahoo failed to purchase a majority stake in France Télécom’s Dailymotion video service – a top French government official said Yahoo could not own 75 percent of the company because they did not want an American company obtaining majority rule of a French business.
The importance of the French company acquisition was if the deal had gone through, which was reportedly worth $300 million, it would have been Mayer’s most significant move since she took over the company less than a year ago. So far, she has been scooping up small mobile start-ups.
Yahoo has been down the same path with Hulu before when it was previously being shopped by its current owners, News Corp., Disney and Comcast. Peter Kafka noted in a previous post about Hulu’s possible sale, “much hinges on the licensing rights News Corp., Disney and Comcast would provide for the money-losing site, as well as what happens to the $300 million debt its owners have taken on in the last year.”
Without those rights, Hulu would not be worth the billion it would be with long term and already popular television rights, which keeps users coming back. Currently, sources said its media owners are offering two to three years of rights, with a lot of flexibility over removing content from the site, which is not quite as attractive a deal.
Video seems to be Yahoos main focus right now. In addition to mobile efforts, Mayer has explicitly told investors that video was a key to company under her tenure.
“I think video is really important … video is something that we’re all innately designed and born to experience, everyone is born being able to watch and to hear,” Mayer said in an onstage interview at a Wired conference in New York. “Video is just this amazing format.”
Mayer would think highly of video, having been at Google when the search engine giant bought YouTube, ironically from Yahoo’s competing bid – then led by Terry Semel. Since the acquisition, YouTube has became the largest (and most important player) in the video space.
Source: All things D