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Hulu Discusses Beta Progress, Sets March Launch Date

Despite being an invite-only phenomenon, the joint online video venture from News Corporation and NBC Universal has "several hundred thousand users," according to CTO Eric Feng. These users have submitted "tens of thousands" of feedback messages, which helped developers tweak the user interface (Hendrickson says the search engine is much better, for example). Nearly 85 percent of the site's content is viewed at least once per day.

Hulu has also tripled the amount of content on the service since its beta launch in late October, adding episodes that go back to series' first seasons. RSS feeds have been added to alert users about new content. Hulu is more than just a video-hosted site; its content is licensed to big Web destinations like Yahoo, MSN, MySpace, Comcast and AOL. Hulu.com also provides deep links to rival sites like ABC.com.

Hulu's public launch should be sometime by the end of March. High-definition video is one of the new features being worked on. Without saying how, Feng says HD streaming video will be rolled out over the coming year along with more content. The company is also experimenting with different kinds of advertising, including ad overlays and movie trailers.

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