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Hulu Lands! iTunes Better Step Up

Posted by
March 12th, 2008


Hulu Lands! iTunesâ?? Better Step Up

Bottom line–free is free. Okay, I know some of us guard our precious minutes each day like we’re Warren Buffett and we huff and puff while watching ads that run before our favorite web videos, TV shows or online whatever. I’m certainly one of those people and, yes, it gives me great power to rant and sigh as I sit through the commercials. But in the end, I’ll drive and park seven blocks away to avoid paying a $3 valet tab, AND I’ll sit through commercials if I don’t gotta pay one penny. So after five months of private beta testing Hulu has officially launched and I’ll say it here first, it’s going to kick some major bootie.

Hulu, the online video service developed by the two media titans – News Corp and NBC Universal, has gone live on Wednesday (March 12, 2008), nearly five months after it entered private beta testing.

The joint venture will make its public debut with programming from Time Warner Inc.’s television group, Lions Gate Entertainment and sports groups, including NBA, NHL and NCAA.

â??Today Hulu is crossing a milestone in its mission to help people find and enjoy the worldâ??s premium content, when where and how they want it,â? said Jason Kilar, chief executive officer of Hulu. â??With full-length episodes of current and archived television shows, feature films, sport and news, we believe the Hulu service is a step forward in giving consumers entertainment on their terms.â?

This online video service was first announced in March 2007 by NBC Universal and News Corp. executives and the site was launched in beta in October. The company received large amounts of funding, $100 million of which came from Providence Equity Partners.

Hulu, which primarily offered content from its founders, News Corp and NBC Universal, will, at launch, offer full-length episodes of more than 250 TV series from current hits such as “The Simpsons” as well as older shows like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, along with 100 full-length movies including “The Big Lebowski” and “Mulholland Drive.”

The deal with Warner Bros. Television Group (WBTVG) will bring full episodes of “Babylon 5,” “Welcome Back Kotter” and clips from “Friends.” Hulu will also carry “Requiem for a Dream” and “Killing Zoe” from Lionsgate on its Website.

In addition to existing television and recently added video content, Hulu has also signed video licensing deals with the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League.

The nightly highlights and top plays from the NBA and the NHL as well as Web-based programmers like “Prom Queen” and “Onion News Network” will be available on Hulu.com. The site, which was created to bring together the widest selection of premium video with an elegant, easy-to-use interface, will also showcase full-length NCAA men’s basketball tournament games from the past 25 years.

In the past 30 days, during the site’s beta run, more than five million users watched the ad-supported content either on Hulu.com or through its distribution network that includes Huluâ??s partner sites (AOL, Comcast’s Fancast.com, MSN, MySpace and Yahoo!) and other Web sites where users have embedded Hulu videos.

“If you make media truly easy and put the user at the center, they will respond,” Kilar said. “That’s what we’re dedicated to.”





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