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Author Topic:   Hulu
NEWSFLASH
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posted August 30, 2007 09:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NBC, News Corp. Name Video Site 'Hulu'

An online video site backed by media companies NBC Universal and News Corp. took a step closer to launching on Wednesday, saying it will call itself "Hulu" and begin a trial run in October. Little had been heard of the venture since it was originally announced in March in response to the rapid growth of YouTube, an amateur video-sharing site owned by Internet search leader Google Inc. While NBC and other programmers allow some clips from their shows to appear on YouTube, others have a combative relationship with the video-sharing site, saying it encourages the improper reuse of their copyrighted video without compensation to its creators. Viacom Inc., which owns Comedy Central, MTV, VH1 and many other cable channels, is suing YouTube for $1 billion, claiming massive copyright infringement of clips from popular shows including "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." YouTube says it's complying with copyright law by taking down any unauthorized video clips when it's notified. The new site being sponsored by NBC and News Corp. is intended to provide an alternative to watching TV programming online, in a way that's supported by advertising and endorsed by copyright holders. It's not clear what, if anything, the new name of the site, Hulu, refers to. In a note on the site, the head of the venture, former Amazon.com Inc. executive Jason Kilar, said the word was "short, easy to spell, pronounce and rhymes with itself," as well as "an inherently fun name, one that captures the spirit of the service we're building." The site will initially feature programming from Fox shows like "24" and "Family Guy" as well as NBC shows like "30 Rock" and "Las Vegas." Christina Lee, a spokeswoman for the venture, said the company was still talking to other potential media partners. She said no date had been set for the actual launch of the video service: "We're going to see in the coming months how that's going to work" after results from the trial come in.

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fred
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posted August 30, 2007 10:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From TechCrunch - Hulu's mission statement (taken from Google).

Hulu’s Mission Statement: Take Google, apply Thesaurus and add “premier”.

Hulu’s mission statement sure rang a bell when I read it earlier today. And in fact is nearly identical to Google’s:

“Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Hulu’s mission “is to help you find and enjoy the world’s premier content when, where and how you want it.”
Those look pretty damned similar to me. I wonder how much they paid the consultants to come up with it.

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NEWSFLASH
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posted August 30, 2007 12:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hello To Hulu


Five months after NBC Universal and News Corp announced that they would team up to create a new online video-sharing website aimed at countering YouTube, the two media giants said Wednesday that it planned to begin testing the service in October. They also gave it a name: Hulu. In a statement posted on the new site, Jason Kilar, the CEO of Hulu said that they name had been chosen because it is "short, easy to spell, easy to pronounce, and rhymes with itself." (Not so easy was understanding what Kilar meant by "rhymes with itself.") He continued: "Our hope is that Hulu will embody our (admittedly ambitious) never-ending mission, which is to help you find and enjoy the world's premier content when, where and how you want it."

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HollywoodProducer
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posted October 05, 2007 10:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for HollywoodProducer   Click Here to Email HollywoodProducer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Aloha Hulu? NBC, Fox's Video Site May Have Missed Media Tide

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
October 4, 2007 1:15 p.m.


By Shira Ovide
Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--NBC Universal and Fox appeared set this spring to shake up Internet video with the announcement of a joint venture expected to challenge Google Inc.'s (GOOG) YouTube.

Six months later, that business - now dubbed Hulu - has lost cachet and may become irrelevant even before its delayed start. Many question the need for another online video site and wonder how Hulu fits into the broad Web-distribution strategies most media companies already are pursuing.

"Hulu is overkill," said Kathy Sharpe, chief executive of Sharpe Partners, a New York interactive advertising agency. "It's becoming apparent that you don't have to have a Hulu for the networks to put out quality video or trailers to get consumers to watch."

Hulu's challenges point to the difficulties media companies face as they try to retain control over how their content is seen and sold in a freewheeling digital world.

To be sure, few are predicting Hulu's imminent demise. The venture has deep-pocketed parent companies - News Corp. (NWS NWSA) and General Electric Co. (GE) - and has garnered attractive distribution deals with the Internet's biggest names. And even if Hulu falls short of lofty expectations, the venture is seen as a boon for advertiser acceptance of Web video.

Yet Hulu remains a work in progress. Weeks before the start of a test run, Hulu is keeping details under wraps, and Fox and NBC referred questions to Hulu representatives. It's expected that Hulu will show full episodes of TV series and short TV and movie clips from News Corp. and NBC properties, as well as other television networks.

(News Corp. is slated to acquire Dow Jones & Co. (DJ), publisher of this newswire.)


Syndication Strategy

Starting sometime this month, people who sign up for an early peek will be able to access online video at Hulu.com. It could take months before Hulu.com is broadly available - a significant delay from the summer start date NBC and Fox announced initially.

Content also will be available on Web sites representing the vast majority of Internet traffic thanks to distribution deals with Yahoo Inc. (YHOO), Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) MSN, News Corp.'s MySpace, Time Warner Inc.'s (TWX) AOL and Comcast Corp. (CMCSA CMCSK).

In making content available both at a single site and at many places across the Web, NBC and Fox are hedging their bets about where people will go to watch Web video. The two-pronged strategy faces challenges on both sides.

Hulu's syndication feature may have been novel six months ago, but the TV networks worked hard over the past years to place shows on their own Web sites and Internet portals like AOL.

Fans of Fox television shows, for example, already can watch series for free on Fox.com as well as the Web sites of local affiliates. Paid downloads of Fox series also are available on Apple Inc.'s (APPL) iTunes, Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and file-swapping site BitTorrent.

People who have heard Hulu's plans say the venture has scored very advantageous deals with its distribution partners, retaining much of the ad dollars drawn by Hulu content, locking in copyright protections and winning prominent placement on its partners' Web sites.


Crowded Landscape

Creating another YouTube - a site where millions swarm to watch video online - also is a Herculean task, requiring dashes of marketing prowess and good technology and heavy doses of savvy management, luck and opportune timing. It's not clear which, if any, of these features Hulu is blessed with.

"I don't think the world needs another new online video site," said Richard DeSilva, a partner at venture firm Highland Capital Partners specializing in digital media. "Why would you go to Hulu.com versus Yahoo?"

George Kliavkoff, chief digital officer at NBC, hinted at a recent media conference that there would be advantages for people to watch video at Hulu.com over the distribution partners. He indicated visitors to Hulu.com might see better-quality video and enhanced ability to slice-and-dice clips of video content.

Hulu's struggles are underscored by the lack of media supporters. NBC and Fox have talked with potential content partners, including Viacom Inc. (VIA), owner of MTV, Comedy Central and Paramount Pictures; Walt Disney Co.'s (DIS) ABC network; CBS Corp. (CBS); and Time Warner (TWX), parent of the Warner Brothers film studio, TBS, TNT and other cable networks. None has signed on.

For now, other media companies either aren't interested or playing wait-and-see with Hulu. If the venture proves successful, other media companies could join up but are unlikely to commit to the Hulu venture exclusively. Even in the six months since Hulu was announced, media companies have firmed up their own digital technologies and strategies.

Executives from NBC and Fox said involvement of other companies might limit their flexibility. Even with just two media companies, worries exist that there are still too many cooks in Hulu's kitchen.

"When big companies partner in a deal, they can have very different needs," said David Hallerman, senior analyst with research firm eMarketer. "That's part of my concern about Hulu."


'Killer App'

Even critics say Hulu's most important contribution may be increased consumer attention and marketing dollars devoted to video online.

"The good news is the more people out there providing platforms to let people watch video, the better off we'll be," said Herb Scannell, a former executive at MTV Networks and now chief executive of digital-video company Next New Networks.

Already, three out of four people who use the Internet watch video online, according to comScore Inc. (SCOR), and the numbers are expected to climb as high-speed Internet connections become ubiquitous in homes and on mobile devices.

Advertisers are likely to follow. While advertising associated with Web video remains a fraction of the more than $70 billion spent each year on U.S. television commercials, growth is expected to soar 89% this year to $775 million, according to eMarketer. By 2011, video is expected to eat up one out of every 10 dollars spent on Internet ads.

Because of the involvement of NBC and Fox, media companies trusted by marketers, Highland Capital's DeSilva called Hulu "training wheels" for marketers beginning to creep into online video.

"Video is the new killer app," said Jonathan Silver, founder of venture-capital firm Core Capital. "Everybody understands that video is an integral part of where the Internet and electronic communication are going."

In the fragmented and young world on online video, plenty of people think there's a place for Hulu.

"I think it has a reasonable shot" of success, said Silver.

NBC and Fox have won kudos for giving Hulu the independence to find its own way. The joint venture has its own chief executive, former Amazon executive Jason Kilar, and a prominent backer in Providence Equity Partners, which has committed $100 million to the joint venture in return for an equity stake and board representation, according to people familiar with the deal.

Hulu also gives Fox and NBC a laboratory to see what people will watch in Web video and test new advertising models. Kliavkoff acknowledged last week that a bunch of the companies digital initiatives won't work. The key, he said, is to "fail fast."

Sharpe, the interactive-marketing executive, believes that's exactly what Hulu will face.

"In 18 months it will be 'Hulu what?'" she predicted.

-By Shira Ovide, Dow Jones Newswires; 201-938-5287; shira.ovide@dowjones.com

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NEWSFLASH
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posted October 26, 2007 10:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Analysts Forecast Failure for Hulu


Several industry analysts are predicting failure for Hulu, the video website being created by NBC and Fox that is due to begin private beta testing within the next week, Investors Business Daily reported today (Thursday). The newspaper quoted Peter Kafka, who rites the SiliconAlley.com blog, as observing that Hulu faces four serious hurdles: "It's going up against an entrenched competitor in YouTube; it's shunned by CBS, Disney and Viacom; it's a venture of two companies that hate each other; and it's about two years too late." Another analyst, Todd Dagres, general partner of Spark Capital, commented, "The odds of it succeeding are low." Another digital media industry executive, who declined to be identified, remarked, "Hulu has had bad vibes from the start. ... It's not clear ... what the true intent of Hulu is."

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a
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posted December 07, 2007 10:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for a   Click Here to Email a     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can't seem to get into the system to watch anything from Hulu. I want to catch up on The Office episodes - but my password never seems to work.

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fred
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posted March 13, 2008 09:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's a newsflash... Hulu is going to work. It's fantastic. The ads are seemlessly integrated and it's idiot proof. Almost as though Apple designed it.

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HollywoodProducer
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posted March 13, 2008 10:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for HollywoodProducer   Click Here to Email HollywoodProducer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hulu Is a Good Site For Online Shows, But Fare Is Thin
March 13, 2008; Page B1
The major television networks and movie studios, tired of seeing their programming pirated online, have been gradually moving to offer it via legal Web sites and download services.

There are two models for this legal Internet distribution. Some shows and movies can be purchased or rented from services like Apple's iTunes or Amazon's Unbox. You pay a fee for these downloads, which don't have commercials, and you can keep any videos you buy to watch repeatedly even without an Internet connection.



Personal Technology columnist Walt Mossberg says Hulu, the ad-supported YouTube competitor backed by media giants NBC Universal and News Corp, is good, but needs to expand its catalog.

The other model, common on the Web sites of the TV networks, is free, ad-supported streaming directly within a Web browser. In this approach, you pay nothing, but you have to watch commercials that can't be skipped. You must be connected to the Internet while watching, and you don't get to keep the video.

This week, the ad-supported, streaming approach took a big leap forward with the launch of a Hollywood-backed service called Hulu, at hulu.com1. Hulu aims to be a legal, one-stop shop for streaming of TV shows and movies from numerous networks and studios. It's intended as an attractive antidote to pirate sites and to Google's YouTube service, which has angered the media companies by allowing users to post all or parts of movies and TV shows without permission or payment.

Hulu is a joint effort of two big media conglomerates, NBC Universal and News Corp., each of which operates multiple networks and studios. (News Corp. also owns The Wall Street Journal and the Web sites where this column is published.) But Hulu contains programming from other companies as well, including Sony and Time Warner. All told, it offers full episodes or clips from about 400 TV series, plus 100 feature films.

I've been testing Hulu, and I am very impressed with its design and ease of use, and with the fact that it allows users to edit and re-publish its content on their own sites. Despite some drawbacks, it's the first Web property I've seen from mainstream studios or networks that shows a real understanding of both modern Web design and the Internet's culture of sharing. In my view, it's far better than the typical network or studio Web site.

Even though Hulu lacks programming from ABC, CBS and many cable networks, it has a fair selection of popular shows, such as "30 Rock," "The Office," "The Simpsons," "Battlestar Galactica" and "Saturday Night Live." Its movie catalog includes old favorites like "The Usual Suspects," "The Big Lebowski" and "Sideways."

The site is organized in a clean, elegant manner. You can browse shows alphabetically, by genre or by network, or you can use an excellent search system. The search system even brings up links to videos of shows on other sites, such as ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," that are missing from Hulu's own collection.

Watching the material is a pleasure. You can view it in a fixed window or in full-screen view. You can also "pop out" the viewing window so you can place it anywhere on your screen and resize it to your liking. A feature called "lower lights" grays out everything on the computer screen but the video itself.

Even the advertising is relatively painless. TV shows contain just 25% of the commercial time that's on regular TV. And Hulu allows you, in some cases, to choose the advertisers whose commercials you see, or else to opt to watch a movie trailer at the start of a video in exchange for seeing no further ads during that viewing.

In a break with Hollywood's past rigidity, Hulu makes it easy to share, even edit, shows and clips. You can repost an entire video, or any portion of it, on your own blog or on social networking sites.

But Hulu also has some major downsides. Most important, Hulu lacks depth. Even with TV series from its owners' own networks, Hulu typically contains only a small number of full-length episodes, and mainly offers short clips. In some cases, episodes expire after a while. For some shows, such as "Saturday Night Live," there aren't any full episodes, only clips. And the wildly popular "American Idol" isn't in Hulu at all, even though it airs on News Corp.'s Fox network.

This stands in stark contrast to the depth offered on iTunes, where you can find multiple seasons of full episodes of many shows. And it doesn't begin to compete with pirate sites, where you can find nearly everything.

Also, Hulu requires a decent broadband connection -- a speed of at least 1 megabit per second is recommended, and even higher speeds are needed for some content. That means that using Hulu over the slowest DSL lines or cellphone modem cards will likely provide a poor experience.

Another problem is that, unlike iTunes or Amazon Unbox, Hulu can't be used via a TV set-top box or a portable player. And shows can't be saved for offline viewing, such as during flights.

Still, Hulu is a good start for Hollywood in finally providing a better experience for Internet streaming of TV and movies. If the service can add a lot more content and make viewing possible in more scenarios, it might strike a real blow against piracy.

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indiedan
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posted June 10, 2008 05:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jon Stewart, Colbert Coming To Hulu

Viacom is getting its toes wet in the waters of Hulu, the joint venture set up by NBC and Fox to showcase TV programming on the Internet. After balking at putting any of its cable content on Hulu's platform, Viacom announced Monday -- to the surprise of many industry observers -- that it would begin providing full episodes of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report on Hulu beginning Tuesday. Both shows air on the Comedy Central cable network. In its announcement, Viacom indicated that it regards the modest entry as a test and that it will add more programs if it proves successful.

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indiedan
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posted November 14, 2008 05:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Growth of Hulu: Who knew? Ad-friendly site disproves early doubters (Variety complete)

When Hulu bowed in March, naysayers questioned its ability to compete against YouTube or network sites without having original material of its own.
Yet the site has found a growing aud by offering the familiar in an elegant way. Eight months after its launch, the joint venture of News Corp. and NBC Universal has become a popular online destination for viewers who want to catch up on their favorite shows at their leisure. It's also a hit with advertisers, who like its clean design, which incorporates plenty of white space.

Plenty of other sites, YouTube included, stream Hollywood programming these days, but none with as much finesse as Hulu. The majority of its visitors stream TV shows in their entirety, rather than short clip format popularized by YouTube. Like Apple with its iPod, Hulu married content with form, fulfilling a need others didn't know existed.

"That's the nature of startups," Hulu topper Jason Kilar says. "If it was that obvious, it would already exist."

Hulu's ad rates are small by broadcast standards but easily outpace those commanded by YouTube, despite the older site's heavy traffic advantage. And Hulu ads are expected to keep growing despite the tough economy.

"We're very happy with the progress thus far," Kilar says.

A veteran of Amazon's early days, Kilar wasn't surprised by the doubters, especially given the poor track record of joint ventures. But he admits naysaying took its toll nonetheless.

"There were some dark days," he says. "But we were very passionate there was a need for a site devoted to premium content."

The site, which started with 100 TV shows and 10 films, now offers 1,000 skeins and 400 films. Shows range from "The Simpsons," and "The Office" to "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart." Movies include "Liar Liar" and "Basic Instinct." Its deals cover programming from parent congloms, MGM, Lionsgate, Sony TV and Warner Bros. TV.

Lately the site has been adding political content and live programming, with plans to expand globally as soon as the rights can be worked out.

"They've created a great, safe vehicle for advertising," says Jeff Ratner, North America digital director for Mindshare Media.

YouTube, by comparison, has massively more product, and while it is pushing hard into Hollywood programming, it is still predominantly user-generated. The site does not sell ads around such content, but will enter into partnerships with stars from the UGC realm.

Google, which acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion in 2006, is under mounting pressure by advertisers to monetize the site. Last week it rolled out an ad sponsorship program. Premium content could also help, but it's an open question how much.

Jordan Hoffner, YouTube's director of content partnerships, has been working hard to combat Hollywood perceptions about the site. The former NBC exec has begun to see the fruits of his labors in a series of content deals, the most recent being last week's film and TV streaming deal with MGM. That pact, the first to give the site access to studio movies in their entirety, came a few weeks after CBS allowed the site to stream certain TV episodes in their entirety. Hoffner is poised to sign another major studio to a content deal by year's end.

"This is not a short burst," Hoffner says. "It happens to be literally years of work."

YouTube has created channels for different branded product, but they can tough to find. The site's democratic presentation -- and sheer volume of content -- diminish its value as an ad vehicle. Hulu and YouTube both have demographics on their side, however. Viewers tend to skew younger than on TV, which has been aging up to 50 and beyond. The majority of Hulu viewers, Kilar points out, fall into the ad-friendly 18-49 demo.

EMarketer recently projected that advertisers will spend $505 million on video ads this year, with the number climbing to $5.8 billion in 2013. That's far short of the $70 billion TV video ad market, but advertisers are expected to follow younger viewers online.

Both sites must compete with network sites, among other Web destinations, for their share of this growing coin. Hulu has some notable holes in its lineup in ABC and CBS programming. But in the meantime the site is busily adding other fare.

"We do have conversations with ABC and CBS, and they are important conversations," Kilar says. "This is a long journey, and we're very realistic about that."

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indiedan
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posted December 12, 2008 03:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sarah Palin, Please Come Back! Hulu Traffic Drops in November
Published on December 12, 2008
by Peter Kafka

File under “interesting, but understandable”: After a flurry of election-related interest in October, traffic to red-hot Hulu fell off in November. Blame Sarah Palin–or the lack of her.

ComScore says that traffic to the joint venture between News Corp.’s (NWS) Fox and GE’s (GE) NBC fell 10.8 percent from October to November, dropping from 5.3 million unique visitors to 4.8 million.

ComScore (SCOR) says U.S. traffic at Google’s (GOOG) YouTube also dropped that month, but by a much smaller margin–0.006 percent. And since YouTube is a global property, those numbers are less telling. Hulu, meanwhile, is a U.S.-only site (much to the dismay of blog commenters).

Apologies for not figuring out how to show you this data in graph form–I’ll figure it out eventually. For now, click to enlarge.

This makes plenty of sense: Hulu was one of two places were you could (legally) see the “Saturday Night Live” Sarah Palin clips, which were huge sensations. The other one, NBC.com, dropped a whopping 50 percent–from 14.1 million to 7.2 million, comScore says.

And all sorts of Web sites that enjoyed a bump during the run-up to the election have tailed off a bit since then. ComScore says the Huffington Post, for instance, is down 20 percent– from five million uniques to four million. Presumably Oak Investment Partners was aware of that before it sank $25 million into the site last month.

Meanwhile, Hulu still shows impressive growth. If I could have figured out how to create a graph, you’d see that Hulu has still had a huge run-up since March, when it left beta.

Speaking of beta, video site/blog punching bag Joost has logged its first full month of traffic since its Web video player became open to the public. ComScore pegs traffic at 1.1 million uniques; the company says that its data, which include global traffic, show 2.1 million.

Those aren’t huge numbers–I can think of several text-only blogs, which cost a lot less to build and operate than Joost’s site, that garner more eyeballs than that–but they’re not terrible either. Still, Joost has a lot of ground to catch up if it wants to give Hulu a run for its money.

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HollywoodProducer
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posted December 23, 2008 05:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for HollywoodProducer   Click Here to Email HollywoodProducer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hollywood reporter: Commentary: Long tail isn't wagging Hulu just yet
By Andrew Wallenstein

It wasn't supposed to be this way. When NBC Universal and News Corp. announced in 2007 that they were getting in business together to launch an online home for their TV and movie offerings, it became a laughingstock. Two media companies collaborating successfully? And online no less?

Well, look who's laughing now. Hulu has emerged as an unexpected triumph, home to thousands of top-shelf episodes and movies from more than 100 premium content partners. Although the proud parents of Hulu initially downplayed notions that the venture would be a "YouTube killer," there are already estimates indicating that Hulu is pulling in just as much ad revenue with a fraction of the video tonnage.

But in what might be an act of contrition on the part of the blogosphere that so clearly underestimated Hulu, there is now a countervailing hype enveloping the site.

The Associated Press named Hulu its Web site of the year. Mark Cuban declared "Hulu Kicks YouTube's Ass." Influential blog TechCrunch issued a mea culpa. And if that guy Barack Obama hadn't arrived on the scene, surely Hulu CEO Jason Kilar would be Time's Person of the Year, right?

A look at the latest data on Hulu, however, puts the site's performance into perspective. While unquestionably a success story, the hullabaloo over Hulu needs to be taken down a notch.

A key component of the Hulu hype is the so-called long tail, the notion that the Internet's limitless capacity enables library content to be monetized more effectively than traditional distribution. While YouTube drowns in user-generated content that advertisers won't touch with a 10-foot pole, Hulu has shunned that category to amass an ocean of premium-only content.

Its long tail is a catalog of TV and movies going back decades, and though Hulu is mum on the details, what little the venture has shared about its most watched selections is a testament to the depth of content. If you assumed whatever is most popular on TV is most popular on Hulu, think again; Fox's canceled "Arrested Development" and FX's "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" are big draws. Although Fox's "Family Guy" is the No. 1 performer, Kilar has noted that such forgotten fare as "Airwolf" and "The A-Team" hold their own, too.

While touting the viability of cultural arcana is a way of branding Hulu as cutesy and culty, the subtext is clear: This is not a venture dependent on the fickle nature of Hollywood hits. Hulu ensures stability for itself by spreading its points of entry across such a broad range of content offerings.

But some new statistics on Hulu undercut that sense of invulnerability.

October was a record month for Hulu. By Nielsen Online's count, traffic skyrocketed by 76% compared with September to 7.4 million uniques. It was the biggest audience Hulu had registered since coming out of beta in March and its largest month-to-month increase.

Nielsen Video Census, a separate tracking that takes into account streaming data on Hulu's syndication partners and thousands of embedded players, put the count at a personal-best 9 million.

The upticks probably came as no surprise to anyone at Hulu given the confluence of programming additions that were on the site in October. First and foremost, "Saturday Night Live" sketches featuring Tina Fey's Sarah Palin impressions were huge draws, inflated by the fact that NBC Uni was able to keep the clips largely off YouTube and restrict them to Hulu and NBC.com. The election in general was a boon in October -- the homestretch of the campaign season -- which likely lifted the performance of Hulu attractions like "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," not to mention live streams of two presidential debates.

Adding another ingredient to this perfect storm was the timing of the TV fall season, which gave Hulu an influx of new programming, particularly a selection of NBC shows that premiered on Hulu a week earlier than they did on air.

But now that the numbers are in on Hulu's November performance, October feels more like a lucky aberration than the makings of a hockey-stick-shaped growth curve that would have allowed Hulu to earn its hype. Nielsen Online tracked Hulu falling back to earth at a rate of 33% from October-November; the Video Census showed a 16% drop, and that's a more important metric given that the bulk of Hulu's ad revenue comes from advertising in-stream, not display units.

Hulu didn't carry its October momentum into November. That's not exactly tragic; November still managed to top September, which is a good sign, as is a 7% increase in the number of total streams generated (according to Census). But the key takeaway is that Hulu is not quite the juggernaut some have made it out to be; behemoth status can't be conferred on a site that sees its fortunes rise and fall depending on which videos are new that month. Turns out that having an active long tail didn't guarantee Hulu's growth after all.

If anything, November should wake up Hulu to the fact that its site needs to be programd 12 months a year to maintain steady growth. NBC Uni and News Corp. are going to have to concentrate on hits to stay in growth mode on the site.

The data comes on the heels of a new study from a British economist whose analysis of sales for online singles concluded that 85% of all tracks don't so much as muster a single sale. Ad-supported video is a separate category, but Hulu might find out the hard way that it really isn't all that different.

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a
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posted December 29, 2008 10:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for a   Click Here to Email a     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Music Labels Might Just Take Their Business To Hulu
Nicholas Carlson | December 29, 2008 8:06 AM

Fed up with lousy ad revenues from Google's video-sharing service YouTube (GOOG), we've heard the four major music labels -- Universal MG, EMI, Warner and Sony BMG -- are in preliminary talks to create their own destination Web site. Call it a Hulu for music videos.

Now the Financial Times confirms the discussions, but says a new joint venture to create a destination Web site is just one option among many. Some kind of non-exclusive partnership with Hulu itself seems the most likely outcome.

From the FT:

Plans under discussion include: a partnership with Hulu, the online television and film joint venture between News Corp and NBC Universal; the creation of a premium service on YouTube, Google’s video sharing site; or, a standalone venture between some or all of the four largest recorded music groups.

Representatives of two music companies, who would not be named, said they were in discussions with Hulu, adding that no partnership announcement was imminent but that the site appeared to be the favoured partner. “If it happens at all it will be with Hulu,” one said.

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fred
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posted January 22, 2009 04:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hulu Is A Big Hit
Renee Hopkins Callahan 01.22.09, 7:00 PM ET


"Has Hulu Forgotten Enough to Succeed?," from the March 14, 2008, Innovators' Insights newsletter, pointed out that if Hulu.com was to succeed as a disruption, its corporate owners would have to "forget" many of the lessons of their core businesses. What has happened since?

During its build-out and beta phase, Hulu, an online video service that offers hit TV shows, movies and clips for free, was lambasted in the blogosphere and the tech press and branded a failure. Most found laughable the idea that a free video-streaming site backed by major media companies (Fox and NBC Universal) could actually provide a good user experience, much less become successful.

After all, most successful online companies, such as Google, YouTube, Facebook and MySpace (now owned by News Corp.) were not started by existing media companies.

That fact was also the basis for our hesitation published at the time of Hulu's public launch in March 2008. As Scott Anthony wrote, "Asking two incumbents to work together to create a disruptive business seemed like a recipe for disaster." However, he pointed out that the venture could work--if Fox and NBC Universal were able to borrow enough core assets from their core businesses to help them out, but not enough to slow Hulu down, prevent it from learning or constrain its strategic flexibility.

As the world now knows, Hulu's public launch has been a great success. After 10 months since its public debut, it has become the sixth most visited Web site for online video viewing, with 227 million videos viewed and a 2% share of all videos viewed. The Associated Press chose it as the 2008 Web site of the year, and media outlets from Time to Newsweek have all lauded it as an online hit. Even Michael Arrington, who had been particularly harsh on Hulu in his popular TechCrunch blog, wrote an apologetic post, "Happy Birthday, Hulu. I'm Glad You Guys Didn't Suck."

What did Hulu do right? Hulu's most often cited high points are an easy, intuitive user interface that streams video in a browser without a separate application, a catalog of free content both deep and broad (including content from various providers, not just Fox and NBC Universal), and a good search capability to find the content.

We would maintain that the reason Hulu got it right is that it did exactly what we advised back in March. Hulu borrowed just enough core assets to get started, but not enough so that the business model and culture of the parent companies constrained it too much.

A great deal of the credit for Hulu's success has been assigned to CEO Jason Kilar. The initial idea for Fox and NBC Universal to team up came from Jeff Zucker, chief of NBC Universal, and Peter Chernin, president of News Corp., Fox's corporate parent. But one of the first--and most important--things Zucker and Chernin did was to recruit an outside CEO for the new venture. Kilar had been an executive at Amazon.com, where he helped the company move from books into home video and led teams that built the 1-Click Checkout and Amazon Prime.

According to an October 2008 Wired feature, Kilar started out as Hulu CEO by sending back to Fox and NBC Universal the on-loan employees and outside consultants they had provided for the venture. He also reversed Fox and NBC Universal's initial plan to outsource both the site design and the underlying computer code. Kilar told Wired, "Technology is the source of our competitive advantage. For us to design the company to last, we had to write every line of code ourselves."

The article went on to describe in detail how Kilar shaped the business model for Hulu in accordance with his vision for a successful online video service, often butting heads with executives from Fox and NBC Universal in the process. He was able to win their cooperation and support--and their video assets--which was all he really needed from them.

Hulu's new challenge is to pair its innovative content approach with an innovative business model. Hulu's business model is essentially the same as traditional broadcast networks': offer compelling content, build audience, sell ads based on that audience volume, repeat. While Hulu gets two to three times the ad rate that the broadcast networks get, that's on a cost-per-thousand-viewers basis as opposed to a straight placement cost.

Hulu says its highest-rated shows get "millions of streams" per month, but a popular show like CSI will draw 16 million viewers on TV in a single night. And Hulu sells only two minutes of advertising per half-hour show, while traditional television broadcasters sell eight minutes of advertising for the same 30 minutes.

Hulu's audience has steadily grown, but in the current economic slump the overall online video ad market slowed in December 2008 to the point that Hulu hasn't had the advertising sell-outs it had been posting in the previous several months.

Yet rather than caviling about profitability, Hulu's corporate parents appear grateful to be able to provide an alternative to services that allow people to steal their content. In fact, Hulu's greatest accomplishment may be that, having succeeded by careful distancing itself from its corporate parents and their business model, it is now teaching its parents some truths about disruption and the realities of online video.

While it's entirely possible Hulu might yet stumble in figuring out a breakthrough business model, it would now be much harder than it was a year ago to find people who would bet against it.

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indiedan
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posted February 19, 2009 01:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hulu Says Tata To TV.Com

19 February 2009 12:27 AM, PST

Hulu, the video website that is jointly owned by NBC and Fox but has licensing deals with other major online video outlets, has suddenly yanked its programs from TV.com, the video website that CBS took over when it acquired CNET last year, and asked that the Boxee website remove its links to Hulu. The action came at a time when TV.com was showing solid -- even spectacular -- growth. Since it began offering full-length shows last December, it has reported a 263-percent increase in unique viewers and a 4,435-percent increase in viewed minutes. Before word of the Hulu action was reported late Wednesday, CBS chief Les Moonves said during a conference call with analysts that TV.com is "clearly going to be a very, very big player in what is clearly a fast-growing category." Neither side would comment on the reasons for the schism. Hulu said in a statement that it "has contractual rights with regards to our relationship with TV.com and we are exercising those rights. ... We will not disclose our discussions." TV.com declined to discuss the matter. As for Boxee, Hulu posted a notice from CEO Jason Kilar saying, "Our content providers requested that we turn off access to our content via the Boxee product, and we are respecting their wishes." He did not identify the content providers. Several websites inferred from the action that the providers were actually Hulu's owners, NBC and Fox, who in turn were being pressured by cable providers and cable networks who see the spread of video on the web as a threat.

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