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Report: DirecTV to Acquire Hulu

13 Jun, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

The deal — which could close by the end of the month — would give No. 1 satellite TV operator a first-time digital presence, albeit without guaranteed content rights from Hulu owners The Walt Disney Co., News Corp. and Comcast.

DirecTV reportedly is finalizing a deal to acquire Hulu and Hulu Plus, the online repurposed TV program aggregator and SVOD service co-owned by The Walt Disney Co., News Corp. and Comcast.

The $1 billion transaction could close by the end of the month, according to PandoDaily.com, which cited sources close with the deal.

Hulu came back on the market earlier this year in a private auction that reportedly attracted bids from former News Corp. executive Peter Chernin (and secondary investors), Yahoo, Time Warner Cable, AT&T,  KKR and Guggenheim Digital, among others.

A DirecTV deal would be worth about half as much as what Hulu’s owners wanted when they first put the platform up for sale in 2011. Back then, a deal would have included guaranteed content licenses for several years — a scenario that reportedly is not part of the DirecTV deal. As a result, the satellite TV operator would have to negotiate rights to repurposed TV programming and studio movies, according to the report.

Regardless, Hulu would give DirecTV instant credibility in the TV Everywhere ecosystem and SVOD market — the latter spearheaded by Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus and Redbox Instant. Hulu Plus ended the first quarter with 4 million subscribers, and ended 2012 with nearly $700 million in revenue — much of it advertising generated.

A DirecTV spokesperson declined comment.

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