For a while now Comedy Central's two most popular shows, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
and The Colbert Report
have been available for streaming online on both Hulu and on the Comedy Central websites for each program. I'd always wondered why Viacom had allowed those two shows on Hulu, seeing as Hulu is basically owned by Viacom's competitors -- and those two shows are some of the most popular on Hulu. Over those two years, though, Viacom has also built up its own online sites -- actually building some (weak, but still some) aspects of community around both sites. Apparently, it realized it had all the leverage, and Hulu wasn't willing to pony up. So Viacom is pulling both shows from Hulu next week
. This is a pretty big loss for Hulu, though the company is trying to shrug it off. But it does suggest yet another potential problem with Hulu's business model. For all the crap we give Viacom over things like its YouTube lawsuit, the company has worked hard to try to build community around these particular shows -- but other shows that are relying on Hulu can't do that as easily.