Google joins Yahoo, Amazon and the Dish Network in bidding on the company, but is apparently going above and beyond what those companies are willing to offer. The exact numbers are not known, but Google may well be offering "a couple billion dollars more" than the other bidders, presumably for an acquisition that goes beyond what Hulu was originally offering to sell.
Hulu is selling its video website and subscription service, along with exclusive content rights for a minimum of two years. Currently, the site is a joint venture between NBCUniversal, Fox Entertainment Group and Disney-ABC Television Group, who collectively supply the lion's share of the site's content.
In making an aggressive bid for Hulu, Google appears determined to shore up its holdings in the video content space, where it already owns YouTube, the largest video site on the Internet. Historically, the company has had a somewhat tense relationship with traditional content providers, although it's been extending a few olive branches lately.
An acquisition like Hulu could be just what the search giant needs to revamp its Google TV product, which has been met with a lukewarm reception in the United States so far. In addition to user experience issues, the platform struggled early on as content providers moved to block their content from working on Google TV-powered devices.
That said, if it were to take over Hulu, Google would need to assuage any concerns held by its chief content providers, whose businesses are entrenched in the older, more lucrative distribution model and may be at liberty to pull their content from the site at some point in the future.
Of course, it's still very early in the game and it's possible that Hulu's owners may end up holding onto the site. Whatever ends up happening with Hulu may well foretell the future of Internet TV, if not indicate a few things about the future of the Web in general.