MIchelle Clancy ©RapidTVNews | 05-08-2011

DirecTV is looking at possibly purchasing Hulu.com, joining the ranks of other top names including Apple, AT&T and Amazon, that are mulling the acquisition of the online TV site.

The news came among earnings reporting. The satellite TV provider reported a 29% surge in profit for the second quarter year-on-year, reaching $701 million, on the back of 30+ million subscribers.
DirecTV CEO, Mike White, verified that the company is looking at Hulu, but he did so with a few caveats: "I don't want to get into specific comments on an acquisition process, but I think suffice it to say we have consistently said that we want to make sure that we can make DirecTV available any time and any where our customers want it," he said on the earnings call. "The Hulu software has some nice aspects to it, but you also have to kind of form a judgment about its business model and what you think that business model can generate. So, you know, we look at a lot of things here. And we'll see as we go through that process where we come out."

The acquisition may be more interesting now that rival satellite provider DISH Netwrok has confirmed that it will leverage its Blockbuster acquisition to roll out an online streaming service of its own.

Wall Street seems solid on DirecTV's prospects. "DTV remains a growth leader … and is well positioned, in our view, with its higher-end customer base, strong credit standards, leading brand, advantaged distribution and very fast growing segment in Latin America," Deutsche Bank wrote in a research note on Friday.

The company added 472,000 subscribers in Latin America, reflecting 14% growth over the second quarter of 2010, ending the period with 10.29 million customers. It didn't fare as well on its home turn; it only added 26,000 customers in the US to 19.43 million total in the geo, a quarter of what it added in the year-ago quarter. Worse, churn grew from 1.51% to 1.59%.

Like its cable rivals, which have been wrestling with churn for several straight quarters, DirecTV blamed "a more competitive environment coupled with ongoing economic weakness."