Wigs, arguably the highest-profile of YouTube's marquee-driven channels, has opened a partnership with Hulu. The channel will distribute longer-form episodes of its flagship show, Blue, starring Julia Stiles, to the streaming service starting today (they're already up, in fact—check them out here).
Earlier this year Fox Broadcasting Co. invested in Wigs, hoping to use the channel as an incubator for the network. As part of that deal, Fox sells Wigs ad inventory on YouTube; it has made known its desire to find alternative outlets for distributing the high-cost content. The Wigs-to-Hulu move may be the latest signal that the Google-owned video portal is a place for talent to start off, rather than a place for talent from other media to congregate.
The lack of emphasis on established performers and premium content is a definite change at the channel—the company's original initiative was all about inviting Hollywood to the party. Hulu, meanwhile, has continued its efforts to lure name-brand talent of multiple varieties, attracting folks like Seth Meyers and reviving flagging soap operas.
So the transition makes sense, not least because a sales team like Fox's will have redundancies with YouTube's sales squad, and the bite the video portal takes out of its affiliates' earnings is the cause of a lot of complainys around the industry (the average is about half the advertising proceeds, reportedly).