Google is in preliminary talks to acquire the online video site Hulu, the Los Angeles Times reported on its website on Friday, citing anonymous sources familiar with the discussions. Huluís owners have met with Google and other prospective buyers including Yahoo! and Microsoft, the newspaper reported. The site, which broadcasts television shows through on-demand streaming, is owned by a trio of traditional media giants - Disney, NBC Universal and News Corp - and private equity firm Providence Equity Partners.

Google is already a major presence in the online video market through its control of YouTube, and a tie-up with Hulu would further consolidate the web search giantís strength in Internet broadcasting. Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that Hulu had been approached by a potential buyer after having renounced its desire to go public.

Founded in 2008, Hulu is only available in the United States. It lets users watch a selection of television shows for free with advertisements, though subscribers can also pay a fee to watch the shows on connected televisions or gaming consoles.

July 5th, 2011 - 15:43 UTC
by A.Sennitt
(Source: AFP)