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Hulu, the online video service that streams popular TV shows from ABC, NBC, and Fox, is reportedly shopping around for potential bidders, according to Dan Rayburn, an analyst with Frost and Sullivan. Rayburn says Hulu and its owners have been meeting with suitors from Yahoo, Google, and Apple, and are seeking as much as $2 billion. While none of these meetings have been independently confirmed, most of the rumors say Apple will be the company to purchase Hulu. The belief is that acquiring Hulu would bolster Apple’s iTunes Store and help it compete with Netflix’s subscription streaming service with one of its own. “Content is king,” says James McQuivey, an analyst with Forrester Research. “People spend four to five hours a day watching TV. If you get them to your platform, it immediately becomes relevant.” Hulu currently streams TV episodes and movies on many devices, including the Roku, Xbox 360, iPad, and iPhone through its monthly subscription service Hulu Plus. An alliance with Apple might mean pulling Hulu off other devices, but Rayburn asks, “then why spend $2 billion to get it?” Hulu says it will have one million Hulu Plus subscribers by year’s end. Read more from USA Today.
Customers are up in arms! Or at least, media outlets are up in arms over Netflix’s announced split of its streaming service and by-mail disk service into two separate subscriptions starting at $7.99 a month each. For users who currently get one disk at a time plus streaming, that translates to a near-60 percent price hike, from $9.99 to $15.98 per month.
For businesses who think online video isn’t important, think again: comScore reports that the US Internet audience engaged in 6.2 billion online video sessions in June up from 5.6 billion in May, the first time video sessions surpassed the 6 billion mark. In addition, 178 million U.S. Internet users watched online video content for an average of 16.8 hours per viewer.