by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
audience, youtube

google, hulu, nbc universal, youtube

Hulu Realizes That YouTube's Audience Matters; Puts Its Own Videos Back On YouTube

from the didn't-see-that-coming dept

We've covered the bizarre love/hate affair that NBC Universal has had with YouTube. It actually helped get YouTube its first burst of serious publicity in demanding the SNL "Lazy Sunday" clip be taken down off the site. It then went back (setting up its own YouTube channel) and forth (blaming YouTube for company problems) on whether or not it liked YouTube, before eventually announcing its own competing offering (in partnership with News Corp.) called Hulu. Soon after doing so, it pulled the official NBC channel on YouTube, which made little sense. Even if Hulu were fantastic, the actual eyeballs were at YouTube. It had built up a huge community. NBC Universal was making the classic content owner's mistake of overvaluing the content, and undervaluing the platform. It figured that if it hosted the content itself, the crowds would come.

Apparently, that's not what has happened. While Hulu surprised many critics with a well-designed site, it appears that Hulu hasn't been able to generate the type of traffic executives expected. So, despite it being a YouTube competitor, Hulu has tucked its tail between its legs and set up its own channel on YouTube. Apparently, the "build it and they will come" philosophy of NBC Universal's execs didn't work quite as well as planned.

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  1. identicon
    wifezilla, 2 May 2008 @ 4:04pm

    Kind of a shame the old Japanese tradition of sepuku in the face of failure is no longer practiced.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Hellsvilla, 2 May 2008 @ 4:11pm



    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Bobby P, 2 May 2008 @ 4:45pm


    Well, I have been enjoying Hulu for quite some time now and I hope it hangs around. Well designed site and the offerings of content while not perfect are certainly deep enough to provide the oppotunity to just sit back and relax and watch some classic television and (some) movies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 May 2008 @ 5:11pm

    Didn't even know what Hulu was until now. Not very good advertising for a company that helped write the book.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    steveballmer, 2 May 2008 @ 5:56pm


    MSN MovieTime is coming!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 May 2008 @ 6:46pm

    Where can I buy NBC Content for my AppleTV and iPhone and iPod

    I can rent and buy Disney movies, and it works great!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Rob, 2 May 2008 @ 9:01pm


    Hulu is actually pretty amazing, but for far different reasons than YouTube. I'm pretty sure that most people still just watch TV on (GASP) a TV - Plus NBC pisses me off with how slow they are sometimes with new episodes online... so for now I just use Hulu as my TV backup.

    If all Hulu content was available on YouTube, I wouldn't have to leave one site, it would be grand.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Eric the Grey, 2 May 2008 @ 10:33pm

    I like Hulu

    However, there isn't much there that I watch. Most of my TV watching comes from the Scifi network.

    My GF was telling me yesterday that she was happy to have found House episodes on Youtube since her TV has died recently and she cannot keep up with her shows. It's given her a way to keep up, somewhat.

    I didn't know Hulu was out of beta. I'll have to let her know.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Rev. Wright, 3 May 2008 @ 5:46am


    It does not help that Hulu videos are not available anywhere outside of America. It is a useless site if you live in Canada. Whereas YouTube is viewable anywhere in the world, Hulu is obviously losing tons of traffic right there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Iron Chef, 3 May 2008 @ 11:03am

    Multi-tiered content distribution strategy?

    A co-worker recently told me about this show "Psych". The character of Shawn is awesome! I think it's going to be the next great show next season. If you haven't seen it, check out whole episodes at USA Network (owned by NBC).

    Yes, ads are surely necessary to cover bandwidth and distribution costs. But has a multi-tiered distribution strategy been hammered out by NBC yet? It's tough to watch TV when your on a computer multitasking- doing email, etc. I'd like to play the content on a uni-tasker- a media playing device. An iPod, perhaps?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    David McMillan, 3 May 2008 @ 5:07pm

    still nothing beets

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 May 2008 @ 6:40pm

    Re: Hulubalu

    >MSN MovieTime is coming!

    Did it need YAHOO?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    kiki jones, 4 May 2008 @ 10:34am

    Who owns what?

    Just because youtube owns eyeballs today doesn't mean that they'll own that audience forever. Anyone remember when Yahoo had 80% of the search market? Google's in the weird position of having their primary product (search) be exactly the reason that one of their secondary products (video content channel) will fail in the future. Tools for publishing content always get easier and more distributed. Heck, I'm taking primarily website content and republishing the info as video for small business advertising-- and I do it using the client site so there is no channel.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2008 @ 10:01am

    Re: hulu

    Canadians have the internet now? what will they think of next.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Brandon, 5 May 2008 @ 2:10pm


    There are so many things I could name about Hulu that I love, from the seamless streaming with great video and audio quality, to the ability to embed everything, even entire movies, onto another website (though who wants to watch a 2 hour movie in a little box on a blog?). But the biggest reason I think Hulu hasn't taken off is that there is a major lack of episodes of recent or current TV shows. Popular shows on their like The Office, 30 Rock, and The Simpsons only have the 4 or 5 most recent episodes available. Plus for other shows they may have an entire season available but somehow are missing 3 or 4 random episodes. There is a large number of movies available but again, about 75% of bad movies that you've never heard of. And none of them seem to be less than 5 years old.

    I'll still give Hulu a chance for a bit longer. It's nice to watch some old TV shows that aren't on DVD. And the video quality is so much better than anything YouTube offers. But hopefully the content gets a major upgrade soon!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    youtube downloader, 29 May 2008 @ 12:57am

    I think hulu did the right thing.Try to treat youtube as a friend is better than adding an enemy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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