I just got invited to Hulu

November 13, 2007

News:  NBC Universal and News Corp. have combined to create Hulu, the so-called “YouTube killer.”  The site provides “premium” content from TV shows on NBC and Fox, including the Simpsons, the Office, Heroes, and 30 Rock.  The site is still in beta stage, so you need to get an invite to watch videos on the site (unless the backdoor is still working).

Analysis:  I’ve just started my tour of Hulu, but I have to say that I really love it.  The design of the site is clean, simple, and easy to navigate.  And the video quality is absolutely fantastic (near high def, if not high def), much better than YouTube’s.  The key difference is that Hulu doesn’t allow amateur or user-generated videos like YouTube does.  So it seems doubtful that Hulu will steal away YouTube’s audience, many of whom probably prefer to watch at least some amateur videos or “non-premium” content.

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USA Today article on Internet videos and Quarterlife: Is this the end of TV?

November 13, 2007

News:  USA Today has an article discussing the development of “webisodes,” short videos online that are comparable to TV shows.  Lonelygirl15, for instance, turned out to be the most famous, launching on YouTube last year, but her main character has since died off.

One of the new series online is Quarterlife, produced by TV directors Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick.  You can find the show on MySpace.  A related USA Today article discusses not only Quarterlife, but also Chad Vader (popular on YouTube) and Roommates (popular on MySpaceTV).

Analysis:  The dramatic series is difficult to do in 4 minute or less, but I think Lonelygirl15 proved that it can be done effectively on the Internet.  As more Hollywood directors (along with amateurs) play around with short videos, I’m sure we will see another Internet sensation like Lonelygirl 15.  You really need to start out with a captivating actor, though.  And to sustain the sensation, a good story — something that I’m not sure that Lonelygirl15 could deliver.