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Hulu chief asks bosses for $200M in funding -- WSJ

That's approximately twice what Hulu CEO Jason Kilar requested from Walt Disney, Comcast, and News Corp. last year, the Journal reports.


Hulu CEO Jason Kilar has asked his corporate overlords for twice as much cash as last year to fund the company's growth strategy, a new report claims.

Kilar has petitioned Hulu owners Walt Disney, Comcast, and News Corp. for $200 million for 2013 to be used for acquiring more programming and expanding the company's reach around the world, the Wall Street Journal is reporting today, citing people who claim to have knowledge of the talks. Last year, Kilar asked for about half of that figure.

According to the Journal's sources, a decision hasn't been made yet by the companies. However, the sources say that News Corp., which owns Fox, would like to see Hulu transition away from ads and become a subscription-only service. Disney prefers a free service supported by ads. Comcast, which now owns NBC Universal, is not allowed to vote because of regulatory restrictions related to its NBC acquisition.

Earlier this week, Kilar touted his company's growth, saying that it will close 2012 with approximately $695 million in revenue -- up 65 percent compared to 2011. However, it's believed that Hulu is still losing money, making the decision to drop a significant amount of cash into the company a bit more difficult.

Still, Hulu had a strong 2012. The company delivered its service to several more devices, including the Wii U and Apple TV, and more than doubled the number of subscribers to its $8-a-month paid service.

Limited cash reserves, however, continue to present a problem for Hulu. In October, the company had to borrow $338 million to let early investor Providence Equity Partners out of the company.

Hulu has also faced persistent rumors that its owners might decide to sell the company instead. So far, none of the companies have confirmed Hulu is being shopped, but every so often, new rumors crop up that discussions are being held. There has also been talk of Kilar leaving Hulu.

In other words, a lot is up in the air at Hulu right now.

CNET has contacted Hulu for comment on the Journal's report. We will update this story when we have more information.