Hulu Victim Of Its Own Success?

Fast Company et al., Wednesday, March 3, 2010 1:23 PM
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Will Hulu's success be its downfall? In the surest sign yet, Viacom has decided to remove Comedy Central television shows -- including "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," and "The Colbert Report" -- from Hulu next week.

"It looks like the popularity of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report may actually have contributed to the removal," writes Fast Company. "Viacom was unsatisfied with the revenue generated from those two shows in spite of their immense viewerships."

Likewise, Viacom was "unable to make the digital media dollars add up to their liking," notes The New York Times' Media Decoder, adding that the decision was also made to "protect the industry's primary revenue stream, cable and satellite distribution."

Either way, "Viacom's decision is a serious loss for Hulu -- this week "The Daily Show" is listed as the third most-watched TV show on the site," writes The Times blog.

At the end of the day, TechDirt speculates that Viacom "realized it had all the leverage, and Hulu wasn't willing to pony up," while noting that the media company has its own content hub to nurture.

Since its debut in 2007, Hulu has grown to feature more than 14,000 hours of original programming, while over 1 billion videos were viewed on the site in December, according to ComScore numbers cited by The Associated Press.

Yet, according to Gizmodo, "The larger point seems to be that if you're not one of Hulu's major network stakeholders, sharing your content on the site may not be financially viable."

Though, even major stakeholders have expressed their concern with the financial viability of the joint venture between News Corp., NBC Universal, and Disney. News Corp. head Rupert Murdoch, for one, has expressed his desire to eventually place the site behind a pay wall.

"Maybe Viacom is hoping that viewership on its own air and websites will improve if the shows aren't available elsewhere," writes Mashable. "We're not so sure it will, but we'll be observing to find out."

Read the whole story at Fast Company et al. »

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