And many in the industry are convinced that Hulu will eventually break up. “I think both will happen,” said Andrea Kerr Redniss, vp, group director at Moxie Interactive. “I think they’ll have the IPO and I think it will collapse.”
Yet Hulu is still tainted by “very real competition between its network partners and Hulu’s sales staff,” said Williams. “You still end up spending a great deal of time in sales meetings discussing that and not strategy.”
Which points to the inherent tension and fragility of the joint venture, something many have speculated will lead to its undoing. Some are certain that Comcast, once it takes hold of NBCU, will pull the network out of Hulu—IPO or not—since the free nature of Hulu is in opposition to cable’s efforts to prevent cord cutting. “You don’t want to win the battle and lose the war,” said one insider. Hulu may simply have outlived its usefulness to the networks, which are increasingly able to monetize video on their own sites while pulling in complementary revenue from companies like Netflix. “Hulu may have become a nice experiment that was too successful for its own good,” said Patterson.
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