Its Official: Disney Joins Hulu
Full slate of episodes from Disney-ABC Television Group to appear on NBC Universal-News Corp.-owned site
By Alex Weprin -- Broadcasting & Cable, 4/30/2009 10:55:24 AM
As a result of the deal, a slate of full episodes from the Disney-ABC Television Group will appear on the site, including Lost, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, Dancing with the Stars, Ugly Betty, Private Practice, Scrubs, Wizards of Waverly Place, Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, General Hospital, The View, Greek and The Secret Life of the American Teenager.
"From our landmark iTunes deal to our pioneering decision to stream ad supported shows on our ABC.com player, Disney has sought to meet the constantly evolving viewing habits of our consumers, and today's Hulu announcement is the next important step in that ongoing journey," said Robert A. Iger, president and CEO, The Walt Disney Company. "Disney and Hulu share a focus on delivering the highest-quality entertainment experience and we look forward to working with Hulu to build value for our consumers, our brands and our shareholders."
The hope for ABC is that expanding their online presence into Hulu will have an additive effect on television viewing. According to Comscore, only about 8% of the ABC.com audience uses Hulu while around 13% of Hulu viewers use ABC.com. Those low numbers reveal an opportunity for the network to generate viewers beyond their loyal audience.
CBS, the last of the major networks that has not made a deal to join Hulu, released a statement reading: "CBS has long employed open, non-exclusive content partnerships that allow fans across the internet to engage with our programming in such a way that we control our distribution, sales and profit. We continue to discuss similar arrangements with additional partners as we grow our online audience based on the strength of our content, and the passion of the communities it creates. The company also believes that controlling our own rights for that content --in all media--preserves its value in a multi-platform business system."
If video/audio quality and speed can be matched by other portals, isn't the only value of Hulu "one stop shopping"? Access to other portals and content is only one or two clicks away.
It seems like all that Hulu will do is create a single space for programs to compete with one another; just create a battleground uber-network where popularity stats will supremely drive viewers, rather than engaging them with alternatives.
Although a simple uber-network could create an urgency for traditional networks to develop more relevant programming and shows, Hulu simultaneously also creates a single point of pandering to the lowest common denominator.
I believe this is dangerous dinosaur thinking.
Kirk R Cameron - 5/1/2009 1:20:06 PM EDT
Well, if Disney can get ONCE AND AGAIN, SCRUBS, SAMANTHA WHO?, LIFE ON MARS (US), THE MIDDLEMAN, SONS AND DAUGHTERS (hey, isn't that a Universal property anyway?), KAREN SISCO, RELATIVITY, and perhaps even license GILMORE GIRLS for the Hulu site, that would be a very good thing. The Boris Karloff/Revue Studios THRILLER, for that matter...another NBC/Universalish property, no? Now, if only Hulu could also learn less disruptive means of inserting ads in PBS, CBC, and film programming.
Todd Mason - 5/1/2009 10:44:10 AM EDT
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