Bids are expected by the end of this week for Hulu, the online video site owned by Disney’s ABC, News Corp’s Fox and Comcast’s NBC that is said to be looking for a price tag around the $1bn mark.
Its status as an aggregator of some of the most popular professionally-produced content on the web has reportedly attracted a host of suitors, from traditional distributors such as DirecTV to Peter Chernin, who helped found Hulu while at News Corp, and Guggenheim Digital Media, the well-funded Guggenheim Partners offshoot run by Ross Levinsohn, formerly of Yahoo. Some seem to be talking the price down, claiming unhappiness about the sellers’ terms.
Guggenheim has also been eyeing another of the biggest digital video properties, Vevo. It is more than two months since it was reported to be in negotiations about taking a controlling stake, but talk about Vevo’s future has since gone rather quiet. Read more
To Tim Westergren, Pandora’s co-founder, Apple’s iTunes Radio is just another “Pandora-killer” that will be less deadly than it first appears. A once wobbly Wall Street now seems to agree: Pandora’s shares have doubled this year – and were up another 8 per cent on Monday morning – as investors focus not on competitive threats or grumbling artists but on growth opportunities such as integrating its internet radio service into cars. Read more
Aereo is not sitting around waiting for a judge to decide its fate. The digital video service that might disrupt traditional television economics if it can get through a legal thicket thrown up by those most wedded to traditional TV economics is going for growth.
Chet Kanojia’s start-up, which last year began offering streams of high-definition broadcast TV signals to devices from smartphones to tablets, plans to expand from New York City to 22 new markets, having secured $38m in a series B financing round, led by Barry Diller’s IAC and Highland Capital Partners. Read more
Stress balls, breath mints, cupcakes and a sponsored “oxygen bar”: yes, it’s Internet Week in New York, the annual feast of branded freebies, parties and panels for the city’s digital media and marketing set.
Today a Yahoo presentation drew the biggest crowd at the warehouse-like SoHo venue. Some were clearly there for an address on “big data” by Billy Beane, the number-crunching general manager of the Oakland A’s baseball team and inspiration for Brad Pitt’s character in Moneyball. Read more
The company that brought you AOL-Time Warner has become more careful about old media-new media investments. So it was little surprise that CNN, Time Warner’s cable news division, greeted a Reuters report that it was about to buy Mashable warily.
“We do not engage in speculation about our business and we aren’t commenting on those reports,” was the canned response. Read more
As he celebrated Sony’s sweep of Grammy awards at a star-draped after-party in West Hollywood on February 12, Sir Howard Stringer looked like a man relieved.
Adele, the Sony-signed British singer, had won six trophies, capping a year of music successes for the Japanese group and its Welsh-American chief executive, who had lured industry veteran Doug Morris to run his record labels, and pulled off a bid for EMI Music Publishing without committing much capital. Read more
It is a measure of how far streaming digital music services have come that Daniel Ek, co-founder of Spotify, could be feted by a room full of music industry lawyers during Grammy Awards week.
Ek, the keynote speaker at the Entertainment Law Initiative event at the Beverly Hills Hotel, hinted at the industry’s initial resistance when he pointed out that he had started Spotify in 2006 and it had taken him two years to launch in Europe and a full five years before it hit the US market last July. Read more
One thing is going smoothly for Eastman Kodak. This afternoon, in the basement of a Wall Street hotel, it took just three hours to decide who should make up the committee to represent creditors in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy process. Read more