Disney eyes stake in Hulu

Site is second to YouTube in video streaming

Disney is in negotiations to take an equity stake in Hulu, according to a report filed Friday in Paidcontent.org.

The News Corp./NBC Universal joint venture has managed to amass traffic in the video-streaming space, second only to YouTube to date despite the fact it lacked a licensing deal with Disney's TV programming, which includes ABC, ESPN and Disney Channel.

Paidcontent's report explored several potential scenario including one that could see Disney take an equal amount of ownership in Hulu as the two existing principals. Unknown is which programming exactly Disney would make available to Hulu, though ESPN is unlikely.

In contrast to top TV brands like CBS that have scattered their programs on portals all over the Internet, Disney has always played close to the vest, restricting its programming to its own portals, like ABC.com. ABC is licensed to only two portals, AOL and Veoh.

However, Disney might have finally decided the time was right to come aboard Hulu as its growth rate accelerates. That said, getting a piece of the site could prove to be the most economically viable way for Disney to get in, as opposed to cutting a straight licensing deal.
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