updated 08:55 pm EDT, Sun July 10, 2011
Netflix and Hulu mutually uninterested in deal
New tips Sunday ruled out Netflix as one of the candidates to buy Hulu. The movie streaming service hasn't been actively involved, sources for the WSJ said. Hulu also reportedly hasn't been actively interested, in part since it would create overlap and reduce the number of suppliers, not increase them.
Hulu has been effectively shopping itself around after being sparked by a mystery offer from a company that's still unknown. Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo are already known, though DirecTV's interest hadn't been mentioned before. AT&T and Verizon have also expressed interest.
The round that wrapped this week has now been described as a "phase one," the sources said. The second phase will see those who are interested conduct a form of due diligence and see whether Hulu's close content relationships with Disney, Fox (News Corp), and NBCUniversal make sense for their own business models. All three have a stake in Hulu along with providing its TV shows, making it vital for any buyer that deals carry over.
In many of the situations, the goal would be to bolster TV streaming that they often lack. Google's Videos service on Android lacks a significant TV side and fares poorly against Apple's iTunes, while Microsoft might want a subscription TV service to further bolster its Xbox 360 streaming video plans for the fall. Carriers such as AT&T, DirecTV, and Verizon might want to create an equivalent to HBO Go or Comcast's Xfinity TV and could use Hulu as a fast start.