Telephone company AT&T, parent of TV provider U-Verse, launched an online destination Thursday that looks a lot like Hulu.
In fact, Hulu—the joint venture of Disney, Fox and NBC Universal—provides much of the content to the new venture, dubbed AT&T Entertainment. CBS Interactive and dozens more also provide content.
The site, at www.entertainment.att.net, features ad-supported movies and TV shows from ABC, CBS, NBC, Bravo, Oxygen, Syfy, the CW, USA Network and others.
Users don't need to be U-verse subscribers to access the content, which is free, though some of it—like a two-minute scene from Universal's 1985 film The Breakfast Club—requires users to register before viewing.
Many of the movies listed at the site Thursday were, in fact, merely clips that were followed by a pitch to "buy this movie today." Clicking the link takes users to Amazon.com.
"The site will grow and evolve to make more content available to consumers in new and better ways," said Dan York, executive vp content programming at AT&T.
York said the creation of AT&T Entertainment advances the telco's strategy of making premier content available to consumers across three screens: PC, mobile phone and TVs.
"We know our customers want to be able to access their favorite content anytime, anywhere," he said.
U-verse customers also can use the Web remote access application at the new site, which allows them to program and manipulate their DVRs while away from home.
AT&T's new site bows a day after Soleil analyst Laura Martin warned investors that Hulu—and presumably any of its successful imitators—"threatens valuation of many of the largest capitalization media companies."
Pay TV programming migrating to the Internet for free, she added, could knock $300 billion in market cap from cable, telco and satellite companies.
Nielsen Business Media