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wHU’s winning or LU’sing in the Online Battle for TV & Movies???

In one corner we have the undisputed champion of online videos – YOUTUBE , weighing in at a stunning 12.2 billion – Videos viewed per month in the US (Nov. 2009) being backed by its famous trainer Google.  (crowd cheers)

In the other corner we have the fierce competitor – HULU weighing in at 924 million – Videos viewed per month in the US (November 2009) and also bearing the mark of its renowned trainers NBC, ABC, FOX, and Disney. (crowd cheers)

Don’t go anywhere, Don’t (x) out of your browser, Don’t change the channel >> Stay tuned for more…

In the meantime, enjoy being told what to buy, what to wear, and how to act by our paid advertisements and commercials that pay us so you cheap people can enjoy online television and videos for free.  But first, let’s have a moment to run down the list of characteristics that will influence the outcome of this fight:

- Right now NBC Universal and Comcast Corps. are working out a merger between the two companies.  Consequently, the foreseen outcome would be more negative for Hulu than positive.  Essentially, it could reduce access for viewers and competitors and even raise prices for consumers.  What’s possibly more disturbing is how they’re going about it.  I thought Harris was up to know good, but it seems that the Comcast CEO Brian Roberts’ nose is growing at a much faster rate than Harris’.  Apparently he was lying by omission to the Senator Al Franken as Comcast and NBC continue to discuss their merger with the FCC regulations and Congress.  So, how can we trust these companies with the future of media?

- In December, Hulu broke the billion video views mark.  This is significant because it has continued to become more successful since its inception in 2007. However, at this very moment, Hulu is also considering a premium payment plan to charge for watching certain shows or movies.  This could affect its viewers in some way or another.  Consider this though, Netflix has always charged for their videos and the NYTimes has begun to charge for its online paper which was free.  Will Hulu’s fans still love it if they decide to start charging a fee to watch? Watch this clip to hear Hulu’s CEO discuss possibility.

YouTube Preview Image

- Hulu is also developed a desktop version with the help of another third party application called Boxee to allow a person to stream the video from their computer to their television.

- Times are changing and so is the way in which we watch television and movies.  Cable companies are going to have to start thinking of ways to keep their customers happy.  Not only that, but they need to reevaluate the current state of online media with such trends like Hulu and Youtube.  Marguerite Reardon in her article entitled, “Could Cable lose its grip on TV Business?” exclaims:

Experts warn that if cable operators aren’t careful, the subscriber slide could continue.  The biggest problem the cable companies face is that their customers don’t like them.   And if given enough incentive, they are willing to switch providers or cancel their TV subscriptions altogether.

- YouTube is looking into teaming up with Hollywood to offer full content streaming videos. This could be devastating to Hulu in addition to the Comcast merger and the premium pricing.  We’ll see.  Here are some noticeable differences:

  1. Hulu’s videos are better quality than YouTube.
  2. Until now, Hulu has had full-length content.
  3. YouTube allows users to post videos of themselves or practically anything
  4. YouTube has the largest audience for video related content



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  1. mushon 21:53, Feb 7th, 10

    Another important aspect of this is that YouTube is available internationally while Hulu is limited to the US. Together with Google’s international ad coverage his puts YouTube in a stronger position to monotize it’s content.

  2. Alexandra Cale 12:03, Feb 8th, 10

    Interesting points, Ryan. Based on what I learned in the TV class I took last semester, I know that network execs already consider the Hulu model “dead” and are doing everything in their power to put it under for good. As you may have seen in Superbowl ads for what are basically handheld TVs, (http://www.flotv.com/) the networks are pushing other ways for people to watch what they want in a more lucrative model. With new TVs coming out that have internet built in, networks and cable companies are betting that you will watch videos online through their own proprietary authentication systems – online, but actually on your TV. So since you are watching on your TV and not your computer, in a place where you are used to seeing ads, they will put full length ads in shows. So now the cable company will be getting your subscription fees, the networks will get ad revenue for online shows and everyone (except maybe the consumer) is happy.

  3. nadine 22:29, Feb 8th, 10

    I like the narrative of your post!
    I must admit that I’ve never watched Hulu before, because the content can’t be streamed outside the US.
    Youtube 1: Hulu 0
    As I can see now, Hule has a wide arrange of high quality videos. No need to look for part 4 of 8 of a video!
    Youtube 1: Hulu 1
    Though I really don’t like that Hulu forces you to watch a commercial before accessing its content, and the interruptions are even worse!
    Youtube 2: Hulu 1
    I love to watch videos or short movies from unknown directors on YouTube, and then read the comments.
    Youtube 3: Hulu 1
    I wonder if Hulu will keep its followers, when it will make people pay for its content. It would lose its distinctive trait ( compared to cable TV).
    I feel that Hulu awaits a very tough next round…

  4. DanJee 14:35, Feb 9th, 10

    With regards to Hulu vs. YouTube, I give Hulu my vote for watching television online. (Or at least so far). The ability for Hulu to stream high-quality video directly to my TV through Blu-Ray is pretty amazing. It negates any need to actually purchase Tivo or DVR. I just have a sub-computer that does everything for me. How it will change when there is a fee associated with it? I don’t know, but it will be interesting to keep an eye on.

  5. Ryan 16:34, Feb 11th, 10

    From the feedback I have received here is a general summary:

    -Google’s Youtube is international whereas Hulu is only restricted to US at this moment.

    -The Hulu model is dead and things like FloTV are becoming the new idea. FloTV is another way in to watch TV on portable mobile devices.

    -There are some noticeable differences that further separate the two giants: Hulu has higher quality videos, but YouTube has plenty of self-produced videos with lower quality. Again, Hulu is restricted to the US where Youtube is international.

    -Hulu’s ability to stream through a cross-platform media software such as Boxee or something like AppleTV to a television has been better than just watching it on the computer.

    I think YouTube may have won the battle against the underdog Hulu, but YouTube might be trying to win the war as they negotiate deals with CBS and other Hollywood companies to try to offer long-streaming videos available. Maybe Hulu isn’t dead, but FloTV seems to be the next big thing to hit the scene and if Apple’s Ipad can generate Flash the possibilities could be endless because the IPhone cannot access Hulu, but it can access Youtube. Currently, FloTV has deals with Verizon and AT&T(which Apple is in cohorts with) so this could be real interesting how Hulu, Youtube, and FloTV continue to jostle for the crown in online media…

    Stay tuned for my next post