Would NBCU-Comcast deal make Hulu pay-per-view?

There's no love lost between Comcast and Hulu, the latter an object of ridicule by the former for giving away what the cable giant would rather see sold.

Now, Hulu--a growing hit with the masses for offering masses of free episodes of some of the funniest TV available--is facing a little uncertainty as rumors about a merger between NBC Universal and Comcast continue to bubble. Hulu, the child of NBC, Disney and Fox, could end up with Comcast as an evil stepmother, if NBCU and Comcast pool their entertainment assets as part of a plan reported in the L.A. Times. Comcast could end up with a 30 percent interest in Hulu, and that would set up some interesting discussions on how much--if any--programming should be offered free on the growing video portal.

According to the Times, one analyst contends that for each viewer who migrates to the Internet, the companies forfeit $920 a year in ad revenue. Estimates put Hulu's viewership at more than 38.5 million, nearly four times what it was a year ago. That's a lot of cash to walk away from.

For more:
- see this L.A. Times story
- watch a video about the report

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