Investors: The Future of Hulu is Very Much an Open Question

PHILADELPHIA, PA, Hulu has been a major player within the online content streaming scene since 2007–the same year that also saw the launch of Netflix Instant–but according to Artis Capital, the future of Hulu is very much an open question. The company points to a recent article from InvestorPlace, which details the heated bidding war that has Hulu at its center. Artis Capital has released a new statement, commenting on the article and weighing in on the question of what will happen to Hulu in the near future.

The article notes that despite a serious pedigree–it was originally conceived as a joint project between Disney, Comcast, and News Corp–Hulu has fallen on hard times. In 2011, the company was put up for sale, then taken off the market when bids failed to meet the bare-minimum threshold of $2 billion. Now, however, it appears as though Hulu is not only back on the auction block with a lower set of expectations, but the subject of a surprising bidding war.

InvestorPlace goes on to highlight the history of this bidding war. It began in April, when former News Corp president
Peter Chernin, reportedly offered to buy the company he helped create in 2007 for $500 million. Then, word broke that Yahoo had offered somewhere between $600 million and $800 million for ownership of Hulu. Now, the article contends, there are numerous companies interested in snatching up Hulu, and several of them–among them DirecTV–are reportedly offering well over $1 billion.

According to Artis Capital, however, not all of these bidders have similar intentions. “Not all the bidders for Hulu may have the same agenda,” says Stuart Peterson, of Artis Capital, in the company’s new press statement. “For example, take Yahoo, which just recently spent $1.1 billion to acquire blogging site Tumblr: Hulu could become its very own YouTube-like channel, providing it with another platform to attract online video share and advertising revenue.” Continues Peterson, “In addition, pay TV distributors like DirecTV or Time Warner Cable could use Hulu as a potential future distribution platform and another way to protect their current pay TV business from the likes of YouTube and cheaper online options.”

The InvestorPlace article affirms this point, noting that bidders DirecTV and Time Warner Cable “are worried about Internet video as a threat to their paid TV subscriptions by satellite and cable, respectively. Both of these companies would be looking at Hulu to hedge their bets–if their customers bail in favor of an Internet video service, Hulu might let them scoop up at least some of the lost business.”

The article goes on to say that Yahoo may in some ways be the best fit for Hulu, as it currently lacks a video platform of its own, but also that the high price it paid for Tumblr may mean that the company is unwilling to move forward in an escalating bidding war.

Artis Capital is a company that invests heavily in new media technology in both the public and private markets, and was an early venture investor in both YouTube and Vudu.

ABOUT:

Artis Capital is an investment management company that trades primarily public securities, with a focus on emerging technology franchises. The firm is dedicated to identifying big ideas and helping them take flight, uniting innovative thinkers with the financial backing they need to create tomorrow’s extraordinary companies. In addition to new media and its investment within YouTube, Artis Capital invests across many of technologies most important and disruptive sectors and themes, including cloud security, biotechnology, silicon, advanced energy, next generation storage, digital healthcare, big data, and more.


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