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The latest news from Hulu underscores how important it is for the video startup to keep moving while it waits for its fate to be decided, showing off for a sale with a round of bids due this week and proceeding as though one might never happen. In its first streaming deal, Univision will bring hundreds of hours of Spanish-language programming to subscription Hulu Plus. At the same time, CEO Jason Kilar said Hulu Plus is on a trajectory to supply more than half of Hulu’s revenues in the next 12 months.
Not hinted at, of course: that Hulu and its owners News Corp. (NSDQ: NWS) Disney (NYSE: DIS), Fox, Providence Equity Partners and staff (including Kilar) have been shopping the company for months.
Kilar’s vague revenue projections for Hulu Plus are based on the pace for adding subscribers in the U.S. — also vague, but it passed 1 million over the summer — and the September launch of Hulu Plus in Japan. The U.S. revenues also include a “modest” amount of advertising revenue; Hulu Plus is ad-free in Japan.
He doesn’t give any clues as to whether Hulu is benefiting from the Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX) pricing changes that went into effect Sept. 1. The services are now priced the same for streaming at $8 a month but the negative publicity over the increases for streaming and DVD — and the way the two are being split — has left a competitive opening that didn’t exist before.
That’s a plus for the subscription side but it also raises questions about Hulu ad revenues.
Univision: Some Univision programming will on Hulu.com, the free ad-supported video portal, but the bulk is meant for Hulu Plus. It’s reminiscent of the way Dish Network (NSDQ: DISH) added non-English programming to draw new subscribers, offering pockets of programming they might not find elsewhere. In this case, Hulu.com will get some next-day current season programming, avoiding the trend Fox is trying to start of shifting next-day access to subscription. But the current programming on Hulu Plus will be deeper (that usually means it includes all episodes, for instance); hundreds of hours of library content also will be subscription only.
More to come