When NBC Universal and News Corp announced that they were teaming up back in March, most people assumed that they were doing so to take on YouTube by launching a video sharing site. As it turns out, they had no intention of competing with YouTube and instead had their eyes set on creating a place where people would be able to view premium video content online. Eventually they named the service Hulu, and just yesterday they took the first step necessary to bring it out to the public by launching a private beta. All it takes is an email address, and you can sign up to get an invite.
Hulu has a lot going for them, especially when you take into consideration the fact that they’ve teamed with AOL, Comcast, MSN, MySpace and Yahoo who will eventually have the premium content available on their sites as well with their own customized video player. They also own the content that will be available which is another huge advantage. When you take a look at the line-up of shows that they’ll be offering, the service is even more impressive with shows like:
- Prison Break
- My Name is Earl
- and more…
So with a great list of shows in high quality and what appears to be a good interface, is there anything that could prevent Hulu from being a success? NewTeeVee points out a few of their weaknesses – among them are their resistance to anything other than big media shows, and the lack of some way to get viewers to participate in the experience like writing a review for an episode. Another big weakness is that all of the content is ad-supported, they don’t offer an alternative like a monthly subscription to view shows ad-free.
Certainly they’ve got weaknesses, but their strong points are just that, strong. Not only do they have the TV shows, but they also have videos and the option for users to email or even embed the content to share with others. This week they’ll be letting in thousands of beta testers to try it out with even more welcomed in each week after. TV programming on the web is here, and I think it’s here to stay. I’ve submitted my email address to request an invite, and now I can’t wait to try it out. It certainly sounds impressive but leaves me wondering, will Hulu will put a dent in Joost’s user-base?