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10/17/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

Hulu Owners Say Auction Is Off

LOS ANGELES Hulu’s owners have decided, at
least for now, not to sell the Web-video site after
all.

News Corp., Providence Equity Partners and The
Walt Disney Co. said last Thursday (Oct. 13) they
decided to call off a months-long auction process.

“Since Hulu holds a unique and compelling
strategic value to each of its owners, we have
terminated the sale process and look forward to
working together to continue mapping out its path
to even greater success,” the owners and senior
management said in a statement. “Our focus now
rests solely on ensuring that our efforts as owners
contribute in a meaningful way to the exciting
future that lies ahead for Hulu.”

The sale process
was started
when Yahoo
expressed interest
in buying
Hulu. That led
to the auction.

Bids were
reportedly submitted
by Google, Amazon and Dish Network after
Yahoo’s initial offer.

David Bank of RBC Capital said Hulu’s owners
are rethinking the idea of selling. “The networks
are at risk of losing control of their own destiny in
the digital-distribution ecosystem, which over time
has the potential to be the dominant distribution
ecosystem (versus traditional linear cable),” he
said in a research report on Oct. 13. “Is it really
worth it to take $100-200 million of after-tax profit
(assuming a $2 billion sale price) for each partner
at the expense of losing control over your own
destiny? We think the networks are unsure of
the answer to that, which has delayed a resolution
to the Hulu sale. We also think there is a
decent likelihood the networks will abandon the
sale process for this reason.”

For more on Hulu’s non-sale, see Community.

Netflix Strikes Licensing Pact With CW

NEW YORK CBS and Warner Bros. Television
Group
signed a licensing agreement with Netflix
that allows U.S. subscribers to view previous
seasons of scripted series from The CW’s current
schedule through the 2014-15 campaign.

The four-year deal lets Netflix stream more than
700 hours of previous-season episodes of the
network’s current and future series, with the rights
extending for four years after each show ceases
to broadcast on the network. Content will also
be made available through electronic sell-through
services and authenticated cable providers on a
partial-season basis. Financial terms were not
disclosed but the deal is reportedly worth $250
million per year to the content providers.

Series to be made available to Netflix users include
new shows Ringer, Hart of Dixie and The Secret
Circle,
as well as returning series The Vampire
Diaries, Gossip Girl, 90210, Supernatural, Nikita
and One Tree Hill.

Prior seasons of The Vampire Diaries, Gossip
Girl, One Tree Hill
and Nikita will be available to
Netflix members on Oct. 15. Supernatural and
90210 will be available for streaming in January
2012, with this season’s slate of programming
launching in fall 2012.

September