As Hulu continue to ponder over their many potential suitors, another new name has been thrown into contention, unusually one which could lay claim to the origins of the time-shifted viewing that Hulu enjoys supplyingtoday.
Set-top box provider and DVR specialists TiVo have been one of the best-known names in catch-up TV since 1999, and will seek to pull back some more of the market of non-live viewing by acquiring Hulu, who have spent recent months opening themselves up to negotiations with interested parties.
Currently, the main one that TiVo will have to contend with will be DirecTV, with reports from last week suggesting that they were in ‘very advanced stages’ of talks with the on-demand service, which has over 4m premium subscribers and many more viewers of ad-supported content. However, the bidding does not appear to be over just yet, as rumors of TiVo’s interest in the online brand saw their own share prices receive a boost.
The will-they-won’t-they story of Hulu’s possible sale has seen a variety of buyers suggested and an even more varied estimates on pricing, with the higher costs generally associated with reports that the site’s owners (Walt Disney Co. and News Corp., along with co-founders Comcast) would include ‘privileged licensing access’ to their content in the sale, but they are now believed to be out of the equation and leaving the new buyers forced to compete for such rights (amongst all others on the market).
This in turn has dropped interest (and potential financial transactions), with there currently believed to be only three ‘serious bids’ from the rumored parties on the table, all of which (including DirecTV’s) valued at ‘around $1b’. Nature of business obviously suggests imply that if they have not already done so as one of the three, then TiVo need to bid equal or more money to get their hands on Hulu, provided they are truly interested in boosting their online and portable device streaming avenues, or would America’s number 2 streaming platform still be a step too far in terms of price?