updated 02:00 pm EDT, Fri March 27, 2009
Disney Hulu Rumor
Multiple sources speaking with paidContent today claim that Disney is in "serious" talks with Hulu to bring TV shows to the web service. The media giant would bring over at least ABC's TV programming, such as Lost, and would potentially involve the Disney Channel and other networks that aren't heavily dependent on cable and satellite TV. In return, Disney would get an equity stake in the primarily NBC- and Fox-run venture.
It's uncertain how close a deal might be, though the insiders hint that the talks are intensifying after a relative calm period. Disney is believed to have revived its interest after determining that Hulu could scale much larger than individual networks' sites and after the web video portal surged in terms of popularity after its Super Bowl ad. The site is now the fourth-largest video page in the US and well ahead of Disney's own portals.
Completing a deal would return Hulu to having three of the four largest TV networks following CBS' withdrawal last month and would give the site significant clout against pay-per-download TV services like iTunes and Amazon Video On Demand, which make up for their costlier approaches by offering more content and removing ads.
Disney notably counts Apple's Steve Jobs on its board of directors.