Will A Google Acquisition of Hulu Provide Worthwhile Synergy?
If there’s one aspect of our day-to-day lives that I am sure will change dramatically over the next few years I honestly think that thing would be television. I mean, think of what TV was like fifty years ago – a bulky little box with bunny-ears and a black-and-white picture that families circled around in the living room – and ponder how much more modern our state of the art television system shave become. In an era where television sets are being developed specifically with Internet-connected operation in mind and streaming media delivery has become a focus of more traditional cable companies and even newcomers like online retail giant Amazon alike I really do think that I was spot-on last year when I said that web-based television is the future.
As it stands now, there are two pretty dominant names in the online streaming industry. Having recently raised prices on DVD-by-mail plans (the foundation of the company’s original operations) less than a year after making it clear that they were focusing on streaming, Netflix has done a pretty good job at transitioning their efforts from one area of non-traditional media delivery to a much newer and very promising one; web-based streaming. But just because Netflix has done so well with online streaming doesn’t mean that there aren’t other entities out there that have just as strong of a grasp on the streaming media market as well. Having been found to be preferred by connoisseurs of television series over Netflix (Netflix was preferred more by movie lovers), Hulu, a joint venture between NBC, Fox, and Disney to allow the companies to tap into the online media revolution, has done quite well for itself as well.
Arguably in its prime as we speak, Hulu is currently up for grabs and in the past several months there have been rumors of several companies, including big players in the entertainment distribution industry such as Apple, potentially buying the streaming service. This week the rumor mill is speculating that Google, a company known as being a Jack of all trades on the information superhighway, may be the one that finally goes through with the acquisition. According to SlashGear, Google’s unconfirmed offer would be higher than the offers of entities such as Yahoo, Amazon, and Dish Network; all of which are estimated to be offering somewhere between one and a half and two billion dollars.
But really, I just cannot see Hulu being a wonderful acquisition for Google. Sure, the rights to unbelievable amounts of content and a large revenue-generating user base would be of great value to Google’s YouTube, a company in itself one that Google bought up to expand its web presence, but even with YouTube being one of the company’s largest and highest potential assets I really think that Google would be better off expanding on YouTube on their own instead of buying another company.
You see, Google already has invested quite a bit of effort into refining YouTube in an effort to produce more high-quality amateur content. Look at the recent addition of a feature that allows YouTube directors to rent out and charge for their videos and the implementation of live streaming-based offerings for YouTube partner members and it’s incredibly evident that YouTube’s more recent developments and efforts have been focused on attracting awesome quality amateur content. With this said, I really don’t think that YouTube would do horribly well with amateur content if they were to suddenly flood their site with premium television content. I mean, what kind of amateur producer would really stand a chance?
Even if Google were to acquire Hulu I have to question whether or not YouTube would actually be able to use their new acquisition to expand their reach. Just take a gander at YouTube’s rather pitiful movie offerings and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Sure, the selection isn’t that bad (iTunes’ movie selection definitely beats them, though) but the fact of the matter is that YouTube isn’t a destination for premium Hollywood content (unless you consider the illegal uploads that the site used to be somewhat notorious for). Think about it; if you’re going to rent a movie online, where are you going to go? If you’re anything like me, YouTube probably won’t even cross your mind. So how much good do you think Google would do by bringing on even more amateur content?
Of course, Hulu is already somewhat self-sustaining. With an income generated from advertisements and from Hulu Plus subscription packages, I doubt that Google would be at a loss if they were to buy Hulu. Honestly, I don’t think it would be a horrid idea for the company to acquire an asset as promising as Hulu, but when it comes down to it I simply don’t see where Google would be able to integrate the service into YouTube in order to justify their investment and expand upon Hulu’s already established success.
Feel free to drop your thoughts in the comments!
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