updated 05:25 pm EDT, Tue July 5, 2011
Hulu talks to Amazon, ATT, Verizon, more
Hulu's shopping itself around also includes Amazon, AT&T, and Verizon, insiders revealed Tuesday. The companies are part of a "short list" that included Microsoft as its first stop last week and will include Yahoo and Google next. AllThingsD's sources didn't learn how Microsoft had reacted but also heard Hulu will bring up the idea to Facebook, Liberty Media, Netflix, and Samsung.
None of Hulu's existing partners, including its investor Providence Equity Partners as well as its studio partners Comcast (NBC), Disney, or News Corp (Fox), were looking to usurp control.
The sales pitch at Century City is believed to be controversial. Hulu is seeing itself as an "inevitable competitor" to cable and could potentially antagonize its content partners, many of whom are still beholden to traditional TV for ad revenue. Prospective candidates are hoping that Hulu will have at least a 1.5-year license and that it will still have top-flight TV shows.
None have been clearly identified as a frontrunner, but Amazon may have the most sway. Hulu chief Jason Kilar was an Amazon executive at one point, and Amazon as a content store might be seen as a neutral party eager to add TV to its subscription plans and have an edge over Netflix or iTunes. Yahoo could be next as it may want to have a media deal after years of being out of contention.
AT&T and Verizon would most likely want to narrow the purpose of Hulu as a video portal for their existing IPTV services. Netflix could face a backlash since cable providers have been happy with it only as long as it focuses mostly on older TV.
None of the newly involved companies have acknowledged the talks.