Is Hulu for sale? Not exactly.
The L.A. Times reports that Google and Microsoft have both been entertaining the idea of purchasing the online video service, which is jointly owned by NBC Universal, Fox, and Disney-owned ABC.
However, L.A. Times says, “The presentations to the potential suitors are a first step as Hulu’s owners weigh whether to sell the site after having received an overture from Yahoo.”
As a streaming media company, Hulu’s in a great position with content owners, seeing as though it’s owned by content owners. Other outfits have historically had trouble striking compelling content deals—Netflix being the notable exception, although it’s had to pay tremendous licensing fees.
Access to Hulu’s content lineup would be a pretty major win for either Google or Microsoft, both of whom are trying to claw their way into people’s living rooms with devices developed for consuming TV and movies via the web—Google with Google TV, and Microsoft with its Xbox 360 console.
Microsoft may actually have the best shot at scooping up Hulu, as an acquisition by Google could raise some eyebrows when it comes to potential anti-trust issues: Google already owns YouTube, which is the most popular streaming video site on the internet and it’s got the FTC breathing down its neck over questions about whether it’s wielding too much power on the web.
That being said, these apparent discussions are still in the “preliminary” stages, reports the L.A. Times and, again, they’re merely taking place “as Hulu’s owners weigh whether to sell the site.”