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Hulu no longer for sale, owners say(3)

Thu, 10/13/2011 - 5:05pm
RYAN NAKASHIMA - AP Business Writer - Associated Press

After months of being courted by technology giants and TV signal providers, online video service Hulu is no longer for sale, its media company owners said Thursday.

The Walt Disney Co., News Corp., Comcast Corp. and Providence Equity Partners had been shopping the site since June after it received an unsolicited takeover offer.

They tested the waters for other interest, and dozens of companies, from Internet giants Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc. to satellite TV providers Dish Network Corp. and DirecTV came knocking.

But the owners said in a joint statement Thursday that Hulu "holds a unique and compelling strategic value to each of its owners" and that they would refocus on "mapping out its path to even greater success."

The site had been bulking up on content to top up its roster of reruns from Disney's ABC, News Corp.'s Fox and Comcast's NBC. It recently said it would add Spanish-language programming from Univision, adding to a whole host of content from rival media companies including Viacom Inc.'s MTV and film studio Miramax.

It had even teamed up with documentary maker Morgan Spurlock on an original show series.

The service has been gaining traction while online streaming rival Netflix Inc. has stumbled badly.

Hulu has more than a million subscribers who pay $8 a month for a deeper catalog of TV shows less than a year after launching the premium tier last year. CEO Jason Kilar has said Hulu is on track to make around $500 million in revenue this year, up from $263 million in 2010, and has said the company is profitable.

Netflix had 24.6 million paying subscribers at the end of June, but it warned last month that it expected a net 600,000 to leave after a series of controversial decisions including hiking prices as much as 60 percent and then quickly backtracking on a decision to split its streaming and DVD-by-mail services into two separately-billed operations.

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