Hulu has been considering the sale of its video streaming business after a potential buyer approached it with an unsolicited offer back in June. Since then, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and a few others have been mentioned as possible suitors, but only the latter remains in the running alongside Amazon and Dish Network.
According to VentureBeat, Amazon is the current favorite for winning the auction because Hulu CEO Jason Kilar is a former Amazon exec that has close ties with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. The company already offers streaming movies and TV shows online through its Amazon Instant Video service, but apparently Amazon is looking to beef up its media presence on the web with the acquisition of Hulu, and possibly complement its upcoming tablet.
Yahoo is also very interested in bringing premium content to its floundering yet still popular portal, while Dish Network has expressed interest in creating a Netflix alternative. To that end Dish already acquired Blockbuster in early April so buying up Hulu will take it another step forward towards that goal.
Satellite TV operator DirecTV was also interested in Hulu but has reportedly dropped out of the bidding process.
Hulu is jointly owned by parent companies News Corp., Walt Disney Co., Comcast Corp. and Providence Equity Partners LLC. According to the Wall Street Journal, they're hoping to bring in at least $2 billion by selling the streaming service, and are ready to grant the winner up to five years of rights to TV shows and two years of exclusivity.
The company hit a million subscribers for its premium Hulu Plus service in early July and recently launched a premium-only version of its service in Japan for $19 a month, with most of the content coming from American studios.