Media

Hulu bidding heats up as DirecTV drops out

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Satellite TV operator DirecTV has dropped out of the bidding process for Hulu after bidding too low, according the Financial Times.

Hulu has been on sale since June with bids fluxuating between $1.5 and $2 billion. Hulu’s owners — Disney, News Corp., Comcast and Providence Equity — indicated they wanted to auction off the company because of disagreements over the direction Hulu’s streaming service should take.

Now that DirecTV has reportedly dropped out of the bidding, that leaves just Amazon, Yahoo and Dish Network bidding on Hulu. Amazon is the current favorite for winning the auction because Hulu CEO Jason Kilar is a former Amazon executive with close ties Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Amazon already offers streaming movies and TV, so Hulu could bolster those offerings and make Amazon an even bigger media presence. Hulu could also be integrated into Amazon’s upcoming 7-inch Android tablet.

Yahoo has a strong interest in picking up Hulu, as well. The company has struggled in the past few years on several fronts, so owning a strong player in the streaming media space could be one way to jumpstart the company’s prospects for a successful future. Yahoo could also use Hulu to help sell lots of advertising while still generating revenue from subscribers.

Dish Network is interested in Hulu as a chance to improve its digital media offerings. The company acquired Blockbuster in early April and has expressed interest in creating a Netflix alternative.

Despite the impending sale, Hulu looks healthy and doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon. The company announced it had reached one million subscribers for its premium Hulu Plus service in early July.

Mirroring Netflix, Hulu has also expressed interest in moving its service to countries outside of the United States. The company just launched a premium-only version of its service in Japan for $19 a month. The Japanese service claims to offer “hundreds of premium feature films and thousands of episodes of popular TV shows.” Most of the content comes from American studios rather than Japanese entities.