Hulu pulls its "for sale" sign off the front lawn. Now what?

For anyone who's put their house on the market over the last couple of years, you know the feeling--the anticipation of multiple bids and an immediately sale, tempered by the reality of price slashes and no offers.

The owners of Hulu have had a similar experience.

Back in June, the online-video site put itself up for sale, only to see rifts between them and potential buyers on the value of future rights to stream television shows over the Internet squelch any possible deal.

Yesterday, they announced they are taking themselves off the open market.

Hulu is owned by News Corp., Walt Disney Company, and Comcast's NBCUniversal--along with a private equity partner and employee shareholders.

They, along with Netflix, seem the most likely to take over our broadcast television viewing habits and merge the three screens--television, computers, and mobile devices giving consumers the on-demand access they deserve.

Sadly, both Hulu and Netflix have not found the magic strategy that will propel them from minor market disruptor, to market leader. Netflix is struggling with business models as it is forced to pay for second-rate streaming deals and continues to anger its consumer base with seemingly careless pricing and packaging shifts. Hulu's fight is with the studios that own them--those flighty executives who sit in Hollywood pulling flower pedals ("I love Hulu, I love you not. I love Hulu, I love you not...) deciding whether streaming free content to consumers is a good idea. And the cable companies--well, they want NOTHING to do with the likes of Hulu and Netflix, and try to stop their advances at every corner.

Clearly, consumers want affordable choice, and the ability to view content on three screens. If a company can get the entertainment executives, and the cable companies out of the way, they might just have a chance at rabid consumer adoption, loyalty, and revenue.

In the meantime, Hulu needs to pull that for sale sign off the lawn, and go back to creating a great business.

"Since Hulu holds a unique and compelling strategic value to each of its owners, we have terminated the sales process and look forward to working together to continue mapping out its path to even greater success," the owners said in a joint statement Thursday evening. "Our focus no rests solely on ensuring that our efforts as owners contribute in a meaningful way to the exciting future that lies ahead for Hulu."

We wish them all of the luck in the world.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

blog comments powered by Disqus

The Featured Five