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Apple among those considering buying Hulu

updated 08:00 pm EDT, Thu July 21, 2011

Apple included in early Hulu bidding rounds

Apple is one of those considering making a bid for Hulu, a pair of sources claimed Thursday. The company is supposedly in "early talks" that could lead to a buyout if all went well. It wasn't clear from Bloomberg tips what stage of the bidding process Apple had reached or how serious Apple's intentions were.

The iPad designer had previously never been mentioned in the talks, which have included many important companies including Amazon, Facebook, Google, and carriers like AT&T and Verizon. Apple may not have any privileged status in talks and could be one of those pitched on the possibilities of a deal in the first round rather than leaping in out of active interest into a second, more focused round.

Why Apple would bid for Hulu isn't immediately evident but could include either expansion or a defensive measure. Although it has one of the most popular pay-per-show stores for buying or renting TV episodes, it has had trouble competing with Hulu's mix of basic free streaming and its $8 full access subscription. Hulu's experience with a cloud-based service might also be useful even if Apple were to primarily bolster its existing service.

Buying Hulu could also be an attempt to steer users to iTunes by shutting down or limiting the service. Google, which has sometimes been one of Apple's main rivals in technology takeover bids, may want to get Hulu solely to prevent it from being used as an advantage for Android.

Apple could face complications if it made a bid. To keep Hulu's value, it would have to persuade Disney, NBCUniversal, and News Corp that they should keep their content deals active under Apple control. NBCUniversal also has content ownership rules it has to follow as a condition of its merger with Comcast.

Neither Apple nor Hulu has commented on the subject.

by MacNN Staff



  1. chas_m



    Fold it in

    You're right that (if any of this were true), Apple might have reason to just kill the service, but I think they would fold it INTO iTunes to compete more directly with NetFlix rather than kill it outright.

  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's all about the content deals

    Agree that Apple probably needs to talk to the studios before getting serious about Hulu. Unless, of course, the acquisition would just be a Google-blocker.

    Oh, and the 2nd sentence of the 4th paragraph doesn't make any sense unless you swap "Google" and "Apple."

  1. qazwart

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple won't kill Hulu

    Hulu may be a great way to steer people to Apple products. Imagine getting a free one or two year subscription to Hulu Plus with a purchase of an iPad, iPhone, or Mac.

    In fact, Apple will probably fold in the iTunes video rental service into Hulu rather than the other way around. Remember that the original reason for iTunes was to sync music between a Mac and an iPod. In iOS 5, Apple is no longer requiring iOS devices to sync and is using iCloud instead. Besides, the rental service never really fit that well into iTunes.

    I imagine under Apple, Hulu will start streaming movies as well as shows with the premium service in order to compete directly with Netflix. Now, combine that with a free one or two year subscription when you buy an Apple iPad, iPhone, or Mac.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Apple won't kill hulu

    Hulu may be a great way to steer people to Apple products. Imagine getting a free one or two year subscription to Hulu Plus with a purchase of an iPad, iPhone, or Mac.

    Won't happen. h***, Apple wouldn't even throw in a useless .Mac subscription with a Mac or iPhone purchase.

    Plus you apparently have no idea what the cost of such a give-away would be.

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