Yahoo Courts Hulu Following Disappointing Dailymotion Debacle

Marissa Mayer reportedly met with Hulu's owners to discuss possible acquisition options.

An intriguing piece by AllThingsD about a preliminary meeting between Yahoo's Marissa Mayer and the powers that be at Hulu could signal a massive pivot for the Internet firm.

At a "getting-to-know-you" meeting, Mayer and her COO, Henrique De Castro, hooked up with Hulu's owners, which include Disney, News Corp, and Comcast. Rumor has it the owners are keen to sell Hulu, and there are other parties interested in the acquisition, including Chernin Group's Peter Chernin, a former consigliere of Rupert Murdoch, and former Yahoo interim CEO Ross Levinsohn, who is heading up Guggenheim Partners' digital arm. And there's Amazon.

The deal could work in two ways: Yahoo could buy Hulu without any of the program rights, meaning it would get a nice little video platform and website, which is what it's looking for after its $300 million Dailymotion deal was scuppered by France's Industry Minister last week. Mayer, we know, has long been interested in video, seeing it as "really important," and "amazing."

The other way would be for Yahoo to pony up a huge amount of dough to buy Hulu and a long-term deal including its content rights. Currently up for grabs are two to three years of rights with some flexibility over content, says AllThingsD. The third option: Yahoo could partner with and and invest in Hulu, giving more distribution to the video site, and more content to Yahoo.

The firm is currently trying to get out of a 10-year search deal it signed with Microsoft in 2010, which Mayer says is under-delivering.

If Yahoo does acquire Hulu, what sort of pivot would the firm have to execute, and which parts of its business would suddenly be surplus to requirements? Or is Mayer's interest in Hulu a desperate measure after the Dailymotion disappointment? Our comments box is at your disposal.

[Image by Flickr user ilya]

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