There's a saying that the entertainment industry is called "show business" for a reason, because it's not "show friends." Case in point: Hulu recently banished its content both from online competitor tv.com and from Web-to-TV service Boxee. That's a big shift from the you-scratch-my-back-I'll-scratch-yours philosophy that Web video has been built on. But now that there's money to be made, we're not all friends anymore.
Hulu removed its content from Boxee, software that lets consumers access Web shows on TV sets via Apple TV, at the request of its content owners, said Hulu CEO Jason Kilar in a blog post. "We are also steadfast in our belief that the best way to achieve our ambitious, never-ending mission of making media easier for users is to work hand-in-hand with content owners," he said.
That ticked off a lot of Boxee users who sounded off in online forums - Hulu accounted for about 100,000 streams a week on the Boxee service, making it the most requested on Boxee.
But Hulu's serving a lot of masters in its content owners and those masters are serving their own masters. No one wants to lose market share, especially in a recession, so sometimes the gates slam shut.
"Even though the incremental increase in revenue from digital distribution is proving itself, each company's slice of that pie is still up in the air, so it makes sense that they're guarding their turf," says Tom Guida, a new-media attorney with Loeb & Loeb.