Hulu IPO Put On The Back Burner; Future Uncertain
While anyone interested in the business should read the entire article, this is the paragraph that caught my eye:
The people familiar with the matter said that Hulu’s lack of long-term rights to its owners’ online-video programming was one reason the board and Hulu’s management have decided not to proceed with an IPO.
Without long term deals for content, Hulu would have been a very hard sell to the public market, perhaps impossible. I’ll guess that the owners (News Corp/Fox, Disney/ABC, NBCU/NBC) balked at signing up for those long term deals (I can think of several potential reasons) and Hulu decided that without them an IPO was impossible.
Since the IPO was presumably how Hulu was going to fund content acquisition in a potential battle with Netflix, that throws the conventional wisdom over what they do next into question. There’s lots more in the article about Hulu potentially pursuing additional subscription options, or raising more money from its current owners, but reading between the lines it sounds very much to me like the halt to the planned IPO has Hulu thrashing about trying to figure where it goes next.