According to the latest rumors, Apple is considering buying Hulu. According to most people familiar with both companies, this deal will never happen.

On Thursday, Bloomberg and others reported that two sources “who weren't authorized to speak publicly“ claimed that Apple “is in early talks that may lead to an acquisition offer” for the well-known video streaming site Hulu.

Hulu’s popularity among Internet viewers surged after the service’s debut in 2007, but revenue has always been a tricky matter for the company. Hulu’s owners and investors Providence Equity Partners, Walt Disney Co., News Corp.(Fox) and Comcast (via NBC Universal) have constantly weighed the investment versus the return, primarily when it comes to providing popular television programming with an advertisement-supported structure that delivered somewhat mixed results.

The company attempted a paid subscription tier known as Hulu Plus, which began to offer more in-demand offerings near the end of 2010, but the service as suffered from a lack of content that users considered ‘premium’ (possibly due to partner uncertainty about the rewards of the arrangement). Meanwhile, services such as Netflix have continued to prosper with more directly attributable models.

By the second week in July, the sale of Hulu was a foregone conclusion, with several sources naming potential bidders such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Yahoo, and DirecTV. However, reports that Micorsoft had backed off and Apple was entering the ring were enough to provide increased media speculation -- especially concerning Apple’s struggle to turn its own AppleTV service from a self-described ‘hobby’ to a serious part of the company’s product line.

On the other hand, a number of analysts and comments observe that Apple simply may not be interested in acquiring existing brands; some startups have been integrated into the tightly-marketed ‘iFamily’, but Apple has a long a definite history of bringing only its own branded products to market. Much of Hulu’s appeal has been that it is a browser-based experience that will work for anyone (by virtue of Flash, which has never been one of Apple’s favored platforms), while Apple is most certainly interested in integrated products that work with (and perhaps more importantly, rarely without) its other offerings.

 

James Lee Phillips is a Senior Writer & Research Analyst for IBG.com. With offices in Dallas, Las Vegas, and New York, & London, IBG is quickly becoming the leading expert in Internet Marketing, Local Search, SEO, Website Development and Reputation Management. More information can be found at www.ibg.com. Omni Financial can have garnishments and or levies released in as little as 3 - 5 days and resolve tax matters in as little as 30 days. Now that's tax help in action.