Exactly What Is Google Planning for Hulu?

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What Hulu, exactly, is Google trying to buy? A report on All Things D suggests that, while Hulu bosses mull over offers from Amazon, Yahoo and Dish Network, Google’s rumored “big ass ideas” for Hulu might actually go far beyond what the owners were actually trying to sell in the first place.

As recently as last Thursday, Google was named as one of three top bidders for the streaming video site, but according to Peter Kafka, it’s possible that Google hasn’t even submitted a bid yet, because it wants more than what’s currently on the table.

(MORE: Who’s Offering Money to Buy Hulu?)

Kafka cites the traditionally vague “people familiar with the sales process” as saying that Google, instead of submitting a formal bid, has “indicated that it’s still willing to spend a lot of money”—possibly as much as $2 billion more than the $1.5 to $2 billion estimated to be offered by Yahoo, Amazon and Dish—for the site, its subscription base and the rights to exclusive content from all involved broadcasters and content creators for some undisclosed amount of time longer than the currently offered two-year period.

Kafka’s sources claim that “normally we would have thrown people out if they’d said that,” but the amounts that Google’s talking about have shut up any blanket dismissals, at least for now. All bids are apparently being discussed this week, so we may know more sooner than later, but it’s hard to imagine what Google’s plans could be, other than augmenting the already-monolithic YouTube with Hulu content.

MORE: Shocker: How Google TV Can Be Saved

Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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