Well, Hulu officially launched yesterday after many months in beta. Better late than never? The “video online” market is fairly crowded right now, but Hulu does bring the powerhouses of NBC and Fox under one umbrella, not to mention many other smaller channels as well (like Bravo, Fuel TV, FX, Sci Fi, Style, Sundance, and Oxygen). In the last year and a half all the broadcast networks have really ramped up their online video presence.
The Wall Street Journal posits that Hulu is coming out as a competitor to YouTube. Does anyone else out there have an issue with this? The bread and butter of YouTube is not shows (though they are pirated on there, or show up in snippets only), but UGC — User Generated Content! Hell, its one of the biggest successes of the Web 2.0 “amateur created” internet fad we’re all wrapped up in. YouTube is popular because it shows cats tackling babies, old ladies punching other old ladies in the face and of course The Evolution of Dance video.
Now, Hulu does have a good shot at doing this better than its competitors. Its archives are ripe with much wanted older episodes of popular shows (*cough* Simpsons *cough). And the ads that it is serving can be targeted towards the end-user (I get to choose what type of ads I see) and big companies are going to eat that up. Especially since ads in video is still experimental for marketers and there is a lot of drool over the expected ROI.
That is until someone makes a site that rips the content, strips the ads and reposts everything free of annoyance. The legality of this is of course obvious, but that hasn’t exactly stopped people from posting shows online already, has it? If anything Hulu might be making it easier. Now all a site needs to do take the videos and keep the ads there, but put in “jump points” to allow the user to choose to skip the ads. They’re there, but the user decides to skip them and jump to the next point in the real show — definitely doable.
HuluDVR.com upcoming? Totally predicting that.