TV.com takes on Hulu
I read this article today on NewTeeVee on how CBS is trying to “out-Hulu Hulu.” (I like how now Hulu – previously not a word – is now both a noun and a verb.) So I went on over to TV.com to check it out and sure enough, TV.com not only is trying out-Hulu the NBC-Fox-owned online video portal, it’s also trying very successfully to look almost exactly like it, down to using the same color orange.
According to NewTeeVee, TV.com has added shows from CBS, MGM, PBS, Endemol USA and CBS-sister network Showtime. CBS acquired TV.com last year when it purchased CNET.
I can see at least three advantages for TV.com. First, its domain name: When one is looking to watch a TV show online, one would certainly think first of heading to a site called TV.com as opposed to a site called Hulu.com. I like the name Hulu, but until about a year ago it didn’t exist or mean anything. Second, TV.com’s not just a video portal, it’s also a comprehensive TV guide, letting us know when and where shows are on and where they rank according to ratings and viewership. It’s nice to have all of that in one place. Third, the site already has its social networking hooked up and it is wearing it on its sleeve.
If you head there now, you’ll see that there’s a huge rotating photobox and then an accompanying poll. It’s very easy to respond, which really gets the social networking out in front. It’s sort of like Twitter meets TV.com. I took a quick trip over to Hulu and it still looks beautiful – sleek and streamlined as all get out – but the social networking element is hard to find. While I don’t think social networking is required for a video portal to be successful, I think the success of sites like Twitter and Facebook shows that people enjoy having that element, particularly with people they already know and not necessarily with random people they come across online who make inane comments that are best avoided.
From my first glimpse, it looks like TV.com got that part of it right. It’s quick and simple to use, and it’s right out front. Your move, Hulu.