You can add AT&T to the growing list of companies considering shelling out money to acquire Hulu. Sources tell the All Things D
blog that AT&T is pondering entering into a joint acquisition bid for Hulu alongside the Chernin Group. AT&T has historically offered a sort of "me too" Hulu clone
web portal, but clearly would like to expand their web video offerings.
AT&T joins DirecTV and Time Warner Cable as possible suitors for the company, though none of them (especially AT&T and Time Warner Cable) will fix what's wrong with Hulu. Namely, that the people who have owned it have a vested interest in it never really upsetting the status quo
. As a result, Hulu has traditionally been little more than a glorified ad for traditional TV, when it could have been something better (thus all the executive departures).
Does AT&T or Time Warner Cable strike you as the kind of companies likely to change any of that? Meanwhile, that's a good chunk of change both companies could put into oh, upgrading their broadband networks, neither of which are considered industry leaders when compared to Verizon FiOS or even Comcast. That kind of money could go a long way in upgrading the tens-of-millions of DSL users AT&T claims they can't afford to upgrade.
Hulu owners Viacom, Comcast and New Corp. are looking for around $1 billion for the company, though any buyer then has to turn around and re-negotiate a plethora of expiring licensing contracts. As such, the cost could wind up being much higher, and more than a few analysts think that whoever does wind up buying Hulu will need to be a grade A sucker.