Report: Disney Could Join Hulu

13 Comments

“Serious” discussions are occurring between Disney (s dis) and Hulu about distributing ABC and possibly ESPN content through the fast-growing video site, according to paidContent. A possible deal would have Disney offering up programming in exchange for 10 percent of Hulu (currently, Fox (s NWS) and NBC (s GE) each own 45 percent, and investor Providence Equity owns 10 percent, for which it paid $100 million).

Complications include NBC’s and Fox’s partially exclusive online distribution deals with Hulu that are only two years long. Would Disney force them to re-up? In a world where Hulu’s success is only inspiring more competition, and with distribution tiffs cropping up for sites like TV.com (s CBS) and services like Boxee, a show of strength would be fantastic for Hulu right now. While Hulu has added many content providers since the founding two, it still lacks CBS content after negotiations for a prospective deal similar to the Disney one fell through.

It all depends on how much loyalty NBC and Fox have for their spinoff, and how much they’re willing to give away to make it succeed. The original Hulu CEO, George Kliavkoff, has left NBC for Hearst, and a major Hulu advocate at News Corp. (s nws), Peter Chernin, is on his way out as well. You’d think they wouldn’t want to leave a site that just grew traffic 33 percent in one month hanging, but you never know with these old media folk.

13 Comments

Jeffrey G

Hulu needs more capital, DIS is the answer. 33% monthly growth only means 33% more money required to continue operations. They are churning millions daily and with no profit in sight. Why do think they asked George to resign?

HmmConvenient

@Bryan:

To John’s point, it is very important to understand the different technologies powering each site. Move Networks is a technology company, they do not dictate the user experience.

Adobe is also a technology company and Hulu (for better or for worse) uses their technology for streaming content and defining a user experience.

I will tell you this – ABCs content (especially Lost) looks and performs substantially better than HD on Hulu (which as of late, has been reduced to only 6 assets).

John Douglas

@Bryan, just want to clarify your comment about the Move player: Yes, ABC uses the Move Player. But the interface for navigating and watching content is all ABC. Fox also uses the Move player and you’ll notice that it is inline; same with CW and FX. In fact, the Move player can be limited to just the play-out stage, with all the player controls (play, pause, etc) being created in Flash or Silverlight.

If hulu switched to Move, you wouldn’t even know it unless you didn’t have the player and got the prompt to install it.

Now if you’re defining “easy to use” as “not having to install another plugin,” then alright. I can agree to that :)

Bryan Bennett

This would be fantastic. The in-page Hulu player is so much easier to use than the Move player ABC uses for full episodes.
Sorry, forgot to add great post! Can’t wait to see your next post!

Bryan Bennett

This would be fantastic. The in-page Hulu player is so much easier to use than the Move player ABC uses for full episodes.

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