Hulu, an Over the Top (OTT) video service provider, just waved bye-bye to its plans for an initial public offering (IPO). The News Corp-Disney-NBC-backed video startup is now pushed into seeking more capital, but drumming up new financing is going to be a challenge.
Right now the company isn’t saying much, and speculation is bouncing around. One possibility is to ask their customers to pay a subscription fee beyond the new Hulu Plus plan. The company may turn back to their current investors with their hands out again. News Corp, Walt Disney Company, and NBC Universal may want to protect their investment by providing more capital with which to compete in the content arena.
Hulu apparently hasn’t settled on what will define and differentiate it from competitors, especially Netflix. With Netflix coming to the iPad, Hulu doesn’t have an edge. Hulu began with advertising-based revenues which had to be supplemented with other sources of cash. Free episodes of current TV shows, and full seasons from subscription-based Hulu Plus hasn’t drawn many enthusiasts, as indicated by the $2 drop in its monthly rate. However, customers apparently aren’t seeing the value of subscribing to a fee-based offering.
Are recent showings of various soap operas, along with Law and Order, News with Diane Sawyer, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and Tekzilla enough to draw an audience? Hulu might pull viewers who will subscribe to see the entire current season of popular shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, House, and Glee, as well as back issues of the X-Files. A plus for Hulu Plus is that the app on the iPhone streams over 3G and WiFi.
Hulu’s future rests on an ingestion of cash to fend off its rivals. Brother can you spare a dime?