Is It Impossible For Hulu To Survive?
from the too-many-competing-interests dept
We’ve pointed out in the past that you don’t compete against piracy by being lame, and you have to give Hulu at least some kudus for doing its best early on not to be lame (despite plenty of expectations to the contrary). However, every time we’ve mentioned Hulu around here, we’ve noticed an awful lot of pissed off comments from users, who complain about too many advertisements or the ridiculous location restrictions (or music restrictions) that Hulu has to put on content at the request of content owners. And, now, with the removal of Hulu content from Boxee, some are beginning to question whether or not Hulu is driving people back to unauthorized options for TV content.
The real question, however, may be whether or not it was ever possible for Hulu to really succeed. This isn’t to knock the team at Hulu, who have actually gone beyond most expectations in delivering what they could, with a definite focus on usability and making the service as reasonable and useful as possible. But, with so many competing interests tugging them in every direction, it’s nearly impossible for the company to actually satisfy the content providers and viewers at the same time. We’ve seen it over and over again — with content providers having totally unrealistic expectations of what sort of limitations need to be placed on their content — not realizing that whether they like it or not, there are other options out there. Hulu did a pretty good job “competing” with those free options, but as content providers get more and more assertive with their demands for limitations, it seems likely that the company is going to find it more and more difficult to compete against better, more engaging and less annoying (if illegal) competing sites. You don’t compete against free by being lame. Hulu seems to recognize that — but Hulu’s content providers still haven’t gotten the message.