Hulu IPO by year's end? Report says it's ready to raise $300 million

Hulu could file for its rumored IPO, with hopes of raising $200 million to $300 million, before the end of the year. Reuters reports the popular video catch-up site, which is jointly owned by Disney, News Corp. and NBC Universal, will set the company's value at $2 billion. The news agency said Hulu likely would use Morgan Stanley to lead the bid, which could land as early as November.

Initial rumors of Hulu planning an IPO surfaced in August, and drew immediate criticism from some content providers and a financial community wary of its profit potential. Hulu is facing stiff competition in Netflix, which has been in the process of increasing its catalog of movie and television content, recently striking a deal with Sony to expand its newer releases, and with NBC for TV episodes. also has been pushing harder into the streaming video segment, and both Apple and Google have their eyes set on the segment as well with both hardware initiatives and content deals in the making.

Hulu, launched three years ago, also recently rolled out its own premium service in beta, Hulu Plus. That service is rumored to be launching for the general public soon, and includes current and past season of TV shows from Fox, NBC and ABC. So far, Hulu Plus has received only a lukewarm reception from reviewers, many of whom criticize it for including an increasing ad load while still charging a premium price for access.

Hulu is expected to see ad revenues of some $200 million this year, after reporting it brought in $100 million in 2009. But the service is facing competition from its own content providers--NBC, ABC and Fox--which reportedly have been cherry picking top ad inventory on hit shows, leaving Hulu access to older content. Hulu recently also is reported to be offering ad sponsorships for entire series, another means of--temporarily, at least--increasing its revenues.

For more:
- see this Reuters article

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