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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Hello to Hulu, the YouTube killer from NBC + FOX

August 30, 2007

News: NBC and Fox have joined together in an online video project that has been nicknamed “the YouTube killer,” reflecting at least the intentions of its creators. Yesterday, the project announced its name — “Hulu” — on its website (still in beta). Jason Kilar, the CEO, even writes to explain the name: “Why Hulu? Objectively, Hulu is short, easy to spell, easy to pronounce, and rhymes with itself. Subjectively, Hulu strikes us as an inherently fun name, one that captures the spirit of the service we’re building. Our hope is that Hulu will embody our (admittedly ambitious) never-ending mission, which is to help you find and enjoy the world’s premier content when, where and how you want it.”

Michael Arrington of Tech Crunch humorously points out that “hulu” means “butt” in two languages and “cease and desist” in Swahili. Salon points out that all names rhyme with themselves, so that’s no reason to pick a name.

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Analysis: Hulu will focus on providing “premium” or “quality” video content from TV shows. It won’t include amateur, user-generated videos (as I understand it), so it’s hoping that viewers will prefer “premium” content over the amateur stuff on YouTube. Whether that strategy will be enough to compete with YouTube’s huge lead in user base, only time will tell. I think it will be an interesting battle to watch. I do like the look of the Hulu website so far, so at least they’ve hired some decent design people.

As for the name “Hulu,” I think if you have to explain it, it ain’t that good.


Hitwise survey: YouTube dominates US video market

June 28, 2007

NewsLatest survey from Hitwise (which measures unique visitors to a site) shows YouTube with 60.2% of the U.S. traffic in May.

MySpace was second at 16.08% of the traffic.  Google Video, 7.8%. Yahoo, 2.77%.  MSN, 2.09%.

This means that YouTube has more U.S. traffic than the next 64 competitors in the market combined!

Analysis: For the companies looking for a “YouTube killer,” good luck.


MySpace TV gears up to do battle with YouTube

June 27, 2007

News: Many media companies are plotting to create the so-called “YouTube killer,” the site that will take down YouTube in videos. Today, it’s MySpace’s turn. MySpace is launching a new, freestanding site called MySpaceTV.com.   More about the new site here. Here are the key features:

1. Free standing website

2. Greater attempt to feature professional content over amateur ones. Sony is exclusively airing its “Minisodes” of Different Strokes, Silver Spoons, and Charlie’s Angels — which condense an episode into 5 minutes or less.

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Analysis: MySpace is a serious competitor to YouTube. I would place it as No.2. As far as the changes go, I have a mixed review. First, I think having a free-standing site is a smart idea. That will help distinguish MySpaceTV from what most people will think about when they hear “MySpace,” the social networking site. On the other hand, I don’t like the design of the new website. It looks almost exactly like the regular MySpace website. MySpace needs to distinguish the look of the site more, so that people know it’s about videos. As it is, the site’s so cluttered. There’s just too much going on there to crowd out the video component. Finally, if MySpace wants to take a gamble on professional content over amateur content, then it needs to highlight the professional content on the front page. At least in my quick review, I couldn’t find any mention of Sony’s “Minisodes” of Different Strokes, Silver Spoons, and Charlie’s Angels. Although I probably wouldn’t bet against amateur user-generated content myself, I really love the Minisodes idea.

Here’s one Minisode video of Charlie’s Angels. If you go to MySpaceTV and search for the shows, you can find more.