Google made the highest bid for streaming video site Hulu, reportedly around $4 billion, more than double what it paid for YouTube, Business Insider reported. However, Google was also bidding on some as-yet unspecified extras that didn’t meet the conditions of Hulu’s owners.
Dish, which is also interested in Hulu’s technology, bid $1.9 billion, topping other contenders Amazon and Yahoo. Hulu was apparently looking for a bid higher than $2 billion, but without whatever bonus items Google threw in the mix.
Why does Google want Hulu? As we reported last week, even though YouTube had six times more unique viewers than Hulu, Hulu generated more than four times more video ad impressions than YouTube in August.
Another reason: 86.8 million people in the U.S. watch a TV show online at least once per month, according to eMarketer. By 2015, eMarketer forecasts that number to increase to 125.3 million.
It’s still possible Hulu may not sell, and it’s also possible that Hulu’s owners, which include News Corp., Walt Disney Co., NBC Universal, and Providence Equity Partners, would decline a sale involving Google without caveats, such as blocking piracy searches, Reuters reported. Other factors that may derail the sale include Yahoo’s instability following the firing of Carol Bartz.
Also, “…the bidders all figured out pretty quickly that the TV companies who own Hulu now want to phase out free ad-supported content completely. So as soon as the current set of Hulu contracts expire in a couple of years, it would be back to the negotiating table,” Business Insider added.