Apple’s interest in Hulu is in the early stages and may not result in a bid, the newspaper reported.
Hulu, which broadcasts television shows through on-demand streaming, said earlier this month that it had 875 000 paid subscribers and was on track to approach half a billion dollars in revenue in 2011.
According to media reports, Hulu’s owners have been seeking to sell the company, and have met with prospective buyers including Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft.
The site is owned by a trio of traditional media companies — Disney, NBC Universal and News Corp. — along with Providence Equity Partners, a private equity firm.
Disney chief executive Robert Iger said this month that there was “a lot of interest” from potential buyers.
Founded in 2008 and only available in the United States, Hulu lets users watch a selection of television shows streamed onto their computers for free with advertisements.
Subscribers can also pay a fee to watch the shows on connected televisions, gaming consoles, and mobile devices including Apple’s iPhone and iPad.
A takeover of Hulu could give Apple a stronger hand in the business of online and mobile film and television distribution, complementing its powerful iTunes business.
Apple is flush with billions of dollars in cash. It recently reported that its second-quarter profit more than doubled to US$7.31 billion on unprecedented revenue of US$28.57 billion, thanks to soaring sales of iPhones and iPads. — AFP