Online Video Steven Kippel on 05 Mar 2010

Viacom pulling shows from Hulu

Viacom pulling shows from Hulu

Hulu logoImagine for a minute you are an executive at a cable TV network. You have a couple programs which are so popular they are a mainstay in popular media. Imagine these shows were available online on one of the most popular video websites around. These programs were also so popular they were consistently amongst the top performers on this site, and the ad revenue also made it quite profitable.

With all of this success, why would you decide to take the program off of this website?

Earlier this week, Viacom pulled Comedy Central videos off Hulu effective March 10th. Amongst the titles include the two shows I’m referencing above: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report. The Daily Show has long been a powerful satire program in the United States, and Stephen Colbert of the The Colbert Report has been performed at the 2006 White House correspondents dinner for President Bush, and President Obama has appeared on his show once, and even mentioned him by name to the NASA astronauts when they were installing Colbert’s eponymous space tread mill on the International Space Station late last month. Both shows have been in the top 15 popular shows on Hulu for almost two years.

While shows come and go on Hulu all the time, these two shows have been so consistent that the Senior Vice President of Hulu, Andy Forssell, bade them a fond farewell.

So why did they do it? There isn’t any clear indication, but the parting seems amicable. Over the past few years there has been so much volatility in the entertainment market that companies are struggling to maintain ownership of their property, so it’s possible they feel these programs are so powerful they won’t lose the viewership and that the viewers will follow them to their own website where they have complete control over them, and only the expense they already incur on their site.

Whatever the reason, I was hoping for more aggregation of video content, not less. But I guess that’s what the Boxee Box was created to fix.

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