Hulu Loses The Daily Show And Colbert

from the building-community dept

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.

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Companies: hulu, viacom

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Comments on “Hulu Loses The Daily Show And Colbert”

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Aaron Martin-Colby (profile) says:


Daily Show and Colbert were the only reasons I ever went to Hulu. And Viacom’s website interfaces are bad enough where I don’t go there. Hulu’s design and speed were much better.

Which… no longer applies? I just went to the Daily Show website, and new episodes are shown in a player oddly similar to Hulu.

How long has this been the case? My last trip a number of months ago had a really crappy design.

Ok, so. I guess Viacom FTW.

Still, it pisses me off that content providers are obsessed with taking things AWAY from the centralized media houses and trying to nestle it away on their own sites. Hulu was great because it had so much crap on it. has… Daily Show.

Rekrul says:

This perfectly illustrates why relying on a streaming only web site rather than being able to download permanent copies is a bad idea.

By the way, there’s a program called GetFLV that can download from Hulu. The process isn’t quite as seamless as the web site makes it out to be, but it does work. YOu can find it here;

It’s not free, or cheap though.

Rekrul says:

Re: Re: Re:

Wait, are you suggesting that I pay someone to allow me to pirate streaming video?

First of all, I don’t see downloading a permanent copy of something from Hulu as “pirating” it. After all, they’re not selling copies, so they’re not being deprived of a sale, and once they delete these shows, people will no longer come to the site to watch them, so either way, they lose nothing by people downloading a copy to keep.

I’m not advocating piracy, but if you are going to pirate, paying to scrape a flash stream seems like the absolute worst way to go.

I was just making people aware of the program and that it does work. Whether they want to pay for it or not is their choice. Those who don’t want to pay can probably find a way around it.

Jon says:


Hulu won’t stream to Canada. ComedyCentral gets redirected to it’s cousin site (which is hard to navigate and slow to upload new shows/clips).

There must be a better way. If I don’t manage to catch Daily Show / Colbert Report when they’re on TV, I rarely try to find them on the web due to the aggravation.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

In other words, someone in the US did something else that only affects the US and the rest of the world silently couldn’t give a fuck

Uh, please, be nice. First, we are a US site, and the majority of our audience is US based.

Second, we *regularly* discuss stuff happening in other countries that only impact people in those countries.

Aaron Martin-Colby (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Even in another country, our issues should be of concern to you. Our companies are global, which means choices here will mirror choices in other countries. Viacom specifically is a French company. And our politics are frequently forced on other countries through back-door deals and trade agreements. Issues here will likely become issues there.

ECA (profile) says:


IF you look around you will find that the CORPS are trying to startup their OWN sites..and they really suck. NBC really really sucks.
Sifi(syfy) hasnt added anything in almost 6 months..

Hulu kinda Stopped improving. They cant even sort things very well, and never have done it properly.
Hulu installs 1/2 of a Old series and stops. Many are spotty, ep 1,2,5,9 and then dont finish the series.
Its as if they are a Church in the middle of Nowhere, and only get money from the passersby..when they remember to donate. There is no backbone to get/make them better.

Anonymous Coward says:

What is this Colbert Show I keep hearing about?

But more importantly, did this happen because Les Moonves has a renewed contract and believes that he can better monetize content inhouse?

Perhaps there are too many choices, a paradox if you will. But I have to hand it to them for actually in-housing instead of out-housing their content distribution method. These days, it’s too easy to loose an audience, and the downstream community (however small it is) that is created.

Anonymous Coward says:

This is a great example of content versus distribution. That balance couldn’t be agreed on, so everyone took their ball home.

It’s very interesting that a distributor who is owned by content providers suddenly find themselves valuing distribution.

Also, why do distributors get to own the content anyway? I’m not sure that distribution and content shouldn’t be separated by some regulation. Those regulations used to be in place, and I feel that the quality of TV went down with it.

Jim (user link) says:


“…but other shows that are relying on Hulu can’t do that as easily.”

The situation with Colbert and Daily are more the norm than the exception, at least for popular shows. I don’t give a hoot about Hulu’s nice Flash player (even though it is really nice) and I care little about the community. But if I miss an episode, it’s great to see it on-line at any site. I’d also like to see it through Boxee, but since Hulu doesn’t want Boxee to have any ownership the customer (they want you to use Hulu Desktop), they’re doing everything they can to stop that or at least make it less convenient (I know Hulu blames its parents, but that’s mostly BS).

Getting exposure on Hulu is great coup for an unknown show or low-budget indie film, but for a show that already has a huge following, being on Hulu is just not that critical yet. Fans of “Lost” and “The Family Guy” don’t care what URL they have to type. Right now at least, it’s the content that makes Hulu popular, not the other way around.

Ben Doom (profile) says:

I disagree...

I think this is a loss for Viacom. I just sent this letter:

I just saw an article in the New York Times ( regarding your removal of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report from Hulu.

The article implies that this is not a loss for your viewers, as the episodes will still be available on your website. However, I’m certain you are wrong.

Let’s be honest about it. Americans are lazy. I certainly am. At the moment, I have a centralized system for viewing what little TV I watch all in one place: Hulu. Hulu is convenient for me. Hulu is easy. For me to stop using Hulu would be, for me, much like never using a supermaket again.

Let me explain.

Before supermarkets, grocery shopping was often done pievemeal. You bought bread at a baker, and produce at a greengrocer, and meat at a butcher, and so forth. Now, we have one stop shopping. Please, for the sake of sanity, tell me you recognize the popularity of the supermarket better than you seem to understand your own industry.

Now, imagine if Kraft stopped selling products in supermarkets, and opened Kraft stores. Do you really think that I’m going to go on a special shopping trip for my macaroni? Or do you think I’ll stop buying Kraft products?

Hulu also offers me several advantages over and beyond your internal site. The most important of these is that Hulu Desktop is well suited for use on an HTPC. Your site? Not so much. Secondarily, Hulu has Chuck, and House, MD, and the other shows I watch. Your site? Not so much. Finally, Hulu has a consistent experience that I’m comfortable with, and don’t have to think about — in other words, it’s my TV. Your site? Not so much.

I would suggest to you that, by pulling shows from Hulu, you will be precipitating a startling decline in viewership online. And, unfortunately, web users hold grudges. will you ever get them back?

Ben Doom

ECA (profile) says:


Hulu has a few problems, as I mentioned earlier.

But many of the corps(nbc,cbs,fox,…)
want MORE control.
They want to let you see the LAST 5 ep. only, and THEN sell you access to the older material. That is what has been mentioned.

But I dont think these folks see the problem.
1. setting up a server farm to hold all the data.(they will never publish all of it)
2. BANDWIDTH. This is what makes things really SUCK. None of these corps can handle 1,000,000 hits and data transfers in 1 day.
3. they crippled Hulu, by limiting distribution. WHY limit watching shows to USA, canada, england?
4. people would enjoy being able to goto 1,2,3 sites and being able to Watch ANY video they wished. NOT 200 different sites.
5. area distribution, SUCKS. many Corps have Area distribution. Which means they have sites around the world for access from those areas. AND many have shows NOT in the USA, that you might like to watch..but YOU CANT. Since you live in the USA you cant access the ASIA site.

Nastybutler77 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“In any case who needs Hulu when you have The Pirate Bay?”

Because searching for and streaming videos is much faster, easier and more reliable than downloading shows from PB. The upside to PB is that you can keep what you download and you can find things that you can’t find on legitimate sites like Hulu, I realize, but Hulu has (had?) value that PB doesn’t. If you can’t see that, then that’s your loss.

ECA (profile) says:


we have to ask WHY??
And for all that is TV.
WHAT is the part that makes money..
What makes you GO and watch a program…
The program doesnt make the money..
its the commercials..

since hulu is SHOWING the shows, they are making the money, not the corps.

The THING is…
Programs BUY time on the TV. Cable/sat/broadcast..ALL the same.
They want you to WATCH, so that you see the adverts. BETTER programs COST MORE to ADVERT.
Part of the money goes to the Program, and the MOST goes ????
THINk about it.
On Hulu you see at MOST 5 commercials per show..on OTHER SOURCES you get at LEAST 10-15 minutes of commercials..
ADVERTS and commercials make MORE money then the show does..

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