News Corp. (NSDQ: NWS) digital head Jon Miller had the chance today to answer up or down about a Hulu IPO and sidestepped, adding to speculation that a public offering for the video JV is on the way. Asked about an IPO by Kara Swisher at a conference hosted by The Wrap, Miller said he couldn’t comment but spoke generally of “a lot of options” and the need to raise money: “If you’re going to play this game you need capital.”
At the same time, Miller played up Hulu’s potential with advertising and the new subscription Hulu Plus coming closest to hitting the dual-revenue “bullseye” than any other option out there now. News Corp., Disney (NYSE: DIS) and NBC Universal (NYSE: GE) are the largest equity owners of Hulu, which got its first major infusion of capital pre-launch when Providence Equity Partners invested at a $1 billion valuation.
An IPO could provide a third — and likely more lucrative for now — revenue stream, an infusion of cash for the company but also a payoff. But the partners and Hulu would be flipping the switch from a private company whose operations aren’t meaningful enough for its public owners to detail to a public one required to share closely held financial info. That would be a major shift for Hulu, whose CEO Jason Kilar prizes the ability to operate below the radar as much as possible.