Should AAPL buy Hulu?

  • Posted: 06 July 2011 12:10 PM

    Seems to me that AAPL has the inside track to buy HULU with Disney owning 30%. Iger was quoted this morning on CNBC that HULU is “committed” to being acquired

    Would love to hear the collective AFB wisdom for such a move. Pros, Cons?

    Seems to me it would be a nice fit for the new iCloud service.

         
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    Posted: 06 July 2011 12:14 PM #1

    chiefthinker - 06 July 2011 03:10 PM

    Seems to me that AAPL has the inside track to buy HULU with Disney owning 30%. Iger was quoted this morning on CNBC that HULU is “committed” to being acquired

    Would love to hear the collective AFB wisdom for such a move. Pros, Cons?

    Seems to me it would be a nice fit for the new iCloud service.

    Hulu is a streaming service, not a content provider. Apple knows how to stream already and as a result doesn’t need to purchase a streaming provider.

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    Posted: 06 July 2011 12:23 PM #2

    I agree, content is more valuable. HULU has been around for a while and has not managed to become accepted. Don’t see it ever happening.

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  • Posted: 06 July 2011 12:23 PM #3

    chiefthinker - 06 July 2011 03:10 PM

    Seems to me that AAPL has the inside track to buy HULU with Disney owning 30%. Iger was quoted this morning on CNBC that HULU is “committed” to being acquired

    Would love to hear the collective AFB wisdom for such a move. Pros, Cons?

    Seems to me it would be a nice fit for the new iCloud service.


    If Disney doesn’t want it, why should Apple?

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  • Posted: 06 July 2011 01:13 PM #4

    There. Is. No. Value. In. Hu. Lu.

    Hulu is mostly owned by the companies that provide it with content. If Hulu is sold, the content providers no longer own the company and long longer have an incentive to subsidize it.

    Hulu has done nothing of value. If you or I were given the content at the price that Hulu has been given their content, you or I could make millions of dollars in profit too.

    The only thing that Hulu has of value is their name (or their brand). People are familiar with their brand and use their services. Take away Hulu’s content and Hulu has nothing. And if Hulu were sold to Apple or to anyone else, Hulu’s content would not come with them.

         
  • Posted: 07 July 2011 08:25 AM #5

    FalKirk - 06 July 2011 04:13 PM

    There. Is. No. Value. In. Hu. Lu.

    Hulu is mostly owned by the companies that provide it with content. If Hulu is sold, the content providers no longer own the company and long longer have an incentive to subsidize it.

    Hulu has done nothing of value. If you or I were given the content at the price that Hulu has been given their content, you or I could make millions of dollars in profit too.

    The only thing that Hulu has of value is their name (or their brand). People are familiar with their brand and use their services. Take away Hulu’s content and Hulu has nothing. And if Hulu were sold to Apple or to anyone else, Hulu’s content would not come with them.

    I was under the assumption any deal would have to include ALL the content. Since HULU is owned by the content suppliers themselves, they are not at the mercy of some third party regarding transferring the licensing. Apple’s 30% model would seem to be a fine arrangements for both sides. Otherwise, you are correct, there is no value.

    Why does everyone think a sale wouldn’t include content? Can someone point me to link stating so?

    The text I highlighted above is precisely my reason for thinking it would provide Apple a foray into “subscription” streaming ala Netflix.

    Assuming the deal includes all current and future content with Apple’s 30/70 split, would that change your thinking?

         
  • Posted: 07 July 2011 09:25 AM #6

    chiefthinker - 07 July 2011 11:25 AM

    Why does everyone think a sale wouldn’t include content? Can someone point me to link stating so?

    First, I cannot point to a link. I wish I could.

    Second, I have read on numerous occasions that the agreements between the content providers and companies like NetFlix and Hulu would immediately terminate upon sale and that these agreements would then have to be renegotiated with the new owner. This would be even more so with Hulu, which is owned by several content providers. Their interest in providing subsidized content to Hulu would end the moment their ownership interests ended.

    Third, even assuming that the content came with Hulu (which is dubious) those content agreements would expire and expire soon. Then you’d simply be left with a content distribution vehicle and the ability to negotiate new agreements with the content providers. Apple has all of that right now. Hulu would provide a potential purchaser with virtually zero value.

         
  • Posted: 07 July 2011 11:50 AM #7

    FalKirk - 07 July 2011 12:25 PM

    Second, I have read on numerous occasions that the agreements between the content providers and companies like NetFlix and Hulu would immediately terminate upon sale and that these agreements would then have to be renegotiated with the new owner. This would be even more so with Hulu, which is owned by several content providers. Their interest in providing subsidized content to Hulu would end the moment their ownership interests ended.

     

    This sounds right to me.  Hulu’s appeal to a buyer is probably quite limited.

         
  • Posted: 07 July 2011 01:52 PM #8

    FalKirk - 07 July 2011 12:25 PM

    Then you’d simply be left with a content distribution vehicle and the ability to negotiate new agreements with the content providers. Apple has all of that right now.

    I don’t think this can be emphasized enough.  Following this logic, the primary value to Apple in buying Hulu would be the ability to kill a competitor… that Apple might have defeated anyway in due course.  Still, time is money.  If the price was right, buying Hulu with an expectation to scrap it, for the most part, might actually be the economically correct move.

         
  • Posted: 07 July 2011 01:52 PM #9

    Apple’s cash is better spent advancing its strategic advantages for its products and services. Hulu, a fundamentally streaming service with low uptake, contributes little, if anything, to this.

    I say ‘no’.

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  • Posted: 07 July 2011 05:27 PM #10

    Ross Edwards - 07 July 2011 04:52 PM
    FalKirk - 07 July 2011 12:25 PM

    Then you’d simply be left with a content distribution vehicle and the ability to negotiate new agreements with the content providers. Apple has all of that right now.

    I don’t think this can be emphasized enough.  Following this logic, the primary value to Apple in buying Hulu would be the ability to kill a competitor… that Apple might have defeated anyway in due course.  Still, time is money. If the price was right, buying Hulu with an expectation to scrap it, for the most part, might actually be the economically correct move.

    Please reference the portion I bolded, above.

    I think Hulu is already doing a bang up job of scrapping itself. The partnership of content providers has a vague idea that they need to get their content on the web, but they not sure why and they’re not sure how to do it. Every time Hulu threatens to become successful, they get scared of that success and hobble their own project by yanking premium content.

    Apple doesn’t need to buy Hulu in order to destroy it. All they need to do is sit back and wait.

         
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    Posted: 07 July 2011 08:04 PM #11

    It is not in Apple’s DNA to buy and scrap a technology.  This practice is anti-progress.

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    Posted: 07 July 2011 11:03 PM #12

    Mace - 07 July 2011 11:04 PM

    It is not in Apple’s DNA to buy and scrap a technology.  This practice is anti-progress.

    ...which is why Microsoft, the old leader in buy-and-scrap is discussed as a potential acquirer - freshly brazen after their Skype purchase.

    Google, the Microsoft Mini-Me and great propagator of buy-and-scrap, is suspect #2.

    Yahoo joins the club for no apparent reason. It’s time somebody bought-and-scrapped them. Ha.

    Glad to see Apple off this list. One of the sharks is going to bite and then get stomach problems.

         
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    Posted: 21 July 2011 10:07 PM #13

    adamthompson3232 - 22 July 2011 12:49 AM

    Many sources reporting that apple is in talks to buy Hulu.

    Wow.

    free apple tv box with any 12 month Hulu plus subscription anyone?

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  • Posted: 21 July 2011 11:15 PM #14

    iOSWeekly - 22 July 2011 01:07 AM
    adamthompson3232 - 22 July 2011 12:49 AM

    Many sources reporting that apple is in talks to buy Hulu.

    Wow.

    free apple tv box with any 12 month Hulu plus subscription anyone?

    To paraphrase John Gruber, what would Apple do with Hulu’s Flash-based interface*?

    *Trick question. Ain’t happening.

    [ Edited: 22 July 2011 12:31 AM by FalKirk ]      
  • Posted: 21 July 2011 11:21 PM #15

    To paraphrase John Gruber, what would Apple do with Hulu?s Flash-based interface*?

    Change it. When the environment doesn’t suit your plans, change the environment.