Hulu is apparently a popular dance partner at the moment. The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are all in “confidential” discussions about buying the popular video service.
YouTube remains the dominant video site online, but it’s built around user-generated, amateur videos. Hulu, on the other hand, has agreements with major TV networks that gives it access to current (and professional) programming — an area that YouTube has been trying to beef up for a few years now. That kind of programming is what attracts ad dollars, as the Times report explains:
Hulu’s rights to the current season’s TV shows have drawn interest from Google and Yahoo, in part because these popular programs have attracted more than 600 advertisers — including such major brands as McDonald’s, Johnson & Johnson and Toyota. Indeed, the site expects to bring in $500 million in revenue this year from advertising and proceeds from its Hulu Plus subscription service.
According to the most recent comScore numbers, Hulu showed about 1.3 billion of the 4.6 billion total video ads displayed in May.
(ComScore’s numbers include streaming ads only, and don’t include ad overlays or banner ads — both of which are common to YouTube.)
Hulu was the 10th most popular video destination in May, according to comScore’s count of unique viewers. But it was second overall in minutes-per-viewer, behind only YouTube.
None of the companies mentioned provided a comment to the LA Times.