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Hulu

April 4, 2008

2008-04-04_0000 Hulu gave me butterflies in my belly, but will they last? I have my doubts.

Hulu means “cease” and “desist” in Swahili and in case you missed it, Hulu.com is a new site that’s a joint venture of NBC and News Corp. Here’s what the Hulu About page says:

Hulu’s ambitious and never-ending mission is to help you find and enjoy the world’s premium content when, where and how you want it. We hope to provide you with the web’s most comprehensive selection from more than 50 content providers including FOX, NBC, MGM, Sony Pictures Television, Warner Bros., Lionsgate, and more to deliver premium programming across all genres and formats, television shows, feature films, and clips. Watch full-length episodes of current primetime TV shows such as The Simpsons and The Office the morning after they air, classics like Miami Vice and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and clips from Saturday Night Live, Nip/Tuck, and others. Hulu also offers full-length feature films like The Usual Suspects, Ice Age, Three Amigos!, and The Big Lebowski as well as clips from films such as Napoleon Dynamite, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Devil Wears Prada and many more. Hulu is free and ad-supported — available anytime in the U.S.

Hulu was founded in March 2007 and is a joint venture owned by NBC Universal and News Corp. In addition, Hulu has closed a $100 million investment from private equity firm Providence Equity Partners.

Hulu’s small, but growing team is headquartered in Los Angeles, California with a Research and Development team in Beijing, China.

Hulu launched publicly in the last week (or two). The site’s user interface is fantastic, the video quality is good enough for me, and the content is remarkably sparse. In fact, the lack of content is down right disappointing. When I heard of the site’s impending launch several months back I had high hopes. Tonight I visited the site for the first time hoping I could watch "Heroes"; unfortunately, only Season 2 is available. Another complaint: Why can’t I embed videos? They’re running ads periodically in the video, they’re getting their money. Why not allow me to embed videos?

Even with the disappointing lack of content the site got me excited. Maybe the TV networks are waking up. There can be no doubt the future of TV distribution is the Internet. I hope the networks embrace this sooner rather than later and provide us with the content we want, on our terms. Hulu hasn’t realized this, but it’s got promise. More than any other implementation, I’ve seen thus far.  I hope they don’t lose interest or steam, but I’m realistic about these things. Check it out yourself, it’s free if you don’t count the commercials every ~10 minutes.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

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One Comment
  1. roy permalink

    They do let you embed videos, and it’s friggin’ fantastic. You can actually specify the range of any full clip they have so you can create clips on the fly. The technology seems a bit weird tho, cause it took a few days for the clip I created to actually be available from my page…

    See the clip I made: http://roy.tabulas.com/2008/03/31/its-always-sunny-in-philadelphia—charlie-singing-nightman/

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