Hulu has consistently flailed and suffered from incomplete show catalogs because the company's owners, with a vested interest in the status quo, really don't have much of an interest in Hulu truly disrupting or succeeding
. Now Disney and News Corporation, after years of bickering about what to do with the property, are again pushing for a sale on the heels of departures of top company executives
last January. An outright sale is a tall order, given that whoever shells out money for Hulu, immediately has to shell out more
money to renew a flood of soon-to-expire licensing contracts.
Still, Hulu has had suitors -- most notably former News Corporation Peter Chernin, who it was rumored has bid around $500 million for the company. Now Time Warner Cable and another un-named cable company
have thrown their name into the hat, but only as added joint owners alongside Disney, Comcast NBC Universal, and News Corporation:
A deal would make New York-based Time Warner Cable a co-owner with Walt Disney Co., News Corp. and Comcast Corp., which each hold about a one-third stake, said the people. Time Warner Cable could offer Hulu to its customers as a bundled service inside and outside of the home with its current products, one of the people said. The company is focusing more on its broadband business as traditional pay-TV growth stalls.
Adding Time Warner Cable to the mix does nothing to fix Hulu's problem that its owners don't really want to disrupt the apple cart -- and therefore don't really want to truly succeed at Internet video (which is precisely why company executives abandoned ship). In other words, Hulu can probably look forward to flailing for another half a decade as a glorified advertisement for traditional television.Update
: a separate report in the Wall Street Journal
suggests that DirecTV is another possible suitor.