NBC Universal and News Corp-owned Website Hulu.com has removed its TV program content from competitor, TV.com which is owned by CBS.
The two parties are engaged in a dispute though neither party wished to shed any light on the nature of the talks. A Hulu statement today read simply, "Hulu has contractual rights with regards to our relationship with TV.com and we are exercising those rights. Out of respect for their confidentiality, we will not disclose our discussions." A spokeswoman for TV.com had no comment about the issue.
Hulu, which launched in beta in October 2007 and publicly in March 2008, has been a runaway success for its backers, even garnering some high profile Super Bowl promotion. But TV.com, relaunched by CBS in January, is also growing and offering up some increased competition for viewers that wish to stream their favorite shows online. According to a Mediapost story today, TV.com recorded a 1,261% increase in streams for January and a 263% increase in unique viewers in January, according to Nielsen VideoCensus data.
One executive with knowledge of the business models of both sites said that Hulu's contract with TV.com was with its former owner CNET. CBS acquired CNET last June for $1.8 billion.
Hulu became an open model syndicating its content in many places including AOL, Yahoo and MSN, largely because its owners wanted content to be available to its partner entities Fox.com and NBC.com. "CBS is now a competitor because they wouldn't join in at the beginning and they're going to use TV.com so why would Hulu help them?"