Ad-Strong Hulu Eyes $2B IPO

Online video hub said to have served up more than 566 million ads in June

Last Updated: August 16, 2010 @ 10:07 AM

It’s been a big week for big IPOs.

A little more than a week after Demand Media filed for a billion-dollar initial public offeringopening itself up to some intense financial scrutiny and equally intense criticism — online video hub Hulu is said to be eyeing an IPO of its own.

According to a report in the New York Times, Hulu executives have been talking to investment banks about going public as early as this fall in an offering “that could value the company at more than $2 billion.”

Like Demand, however, Hulu isn’t turning a profit at the moment. The site — jointly owned by NBC Universal, News Corp., Disney and Providence Equity Partners — generated just $100 million in revenue last year, and has yet to implement a planned premium subscription service, where users would pay $9.99 per month to access streaming content.

YouTube, which was bought by Google for $1.65 billion in 2006, hasn’t turned a profit, either.

But Hulu appears to be winning the battle for online video advertising. Hulu “served up more than 566 million ads in June,” according to comScore figures quoted by the Times, “the highest among online video properties and more than double what comScore measured for YouTube.”

Still, a Hulu IPO filing would be red meat for media analysts who would love a hard look into the company’s books.

That was the case for Demand, which filed paperwork for a potential IPO on August 6. Demand CEO Richard Rosenblatt has insisted the company is in the black, but according to the filing, the company incurred a net loss of $6.05 million during the first six months of 2010. That was a better result than the first half of 2009, when the company lost nearly $14 million.

Figuring in stock considerations, its overall loss was $22 million through June, though, again, better than the $28 million it lost during the first six months of ’09.

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