“Hello World! I’m Hulu!”

By SuperSpy 

When Hulu shook its way into beta, we said that:

“They’ve got very deep pockets. We give them an ‘A’ for effort. If broadcasters don’t attempt to get a handle on this whole internet thing, they’re going to be very, very sorry indeed.”

Despite the ridiculous name, we’ve been using Hulu since it was created in October (after NBC bailed on Apple’s iTunes) and have to say, “bravo” to the whole team. We’ve watched new programs (Lipstick Jungle – skip it), vintage shows (Charlie’s Angels – love it) and some canceled favorites (Arrested Development – fabulous), too. Christ. We cued up The Breakfast Club last night when we couldn’t sleep.

Now, Hulu is making its way to the general public. The NBC Universal/News Corp. joint online video venture, will launch with new partnerships with Warner Bros. Television Group, Lionsgate and a larger film slate. They’ve also hooked up with Michael Eisner‘s production studio Vuguru; the Onion News Network; the NBA; and the NHL and the NCAA. Still missing from the list of providers are Sumner Redstone-controlled companies Viacom Inc and CBS Corp.

Meanwhile, Hulu’s content has been seen by more than 5 million viewers and the site’s player has been embedded over 50,000 times across 5,000 sites. Almost eighty-percent of its entire video library is viewed every seven days. Not bad for being a content, beta site that offers engagement, not participation. Like we said before, YouTube killer? Puhleeze. Hulu is a different animal.

While we love Hulu and applaud CEO Jason Kilar (pictured above) for getting the big bad networks off their asses and into the game, we still have some issues. As Ars Technica pointed out this morning:

– Videos are only available for streaming over the Web, no downloading available and yes, we think you should be able to own it with advertising attached, only. The problem with this is that users would more than likely cut out the ads and pass it around. Technology needs to figure out how to lock these ads in place.

– The site is US only with IPs from outside the country denied access. Silly.

– You can’t take the videos with you to other devices (mobile, video game player, etc.) for on the go watching. How can you watch these programs on your flight from LA to NY?

– “NBC’s bold attempt to get into the distribution game itself eliminates truly useful downloads for consumers who want to pay. By pulling its online content from iTunes Store and restricting it to NBC’s own site, consumers lose an important choice in the way they enjoy their favorite shows.”

– And the way ads are often played, repeatedly in the same program, needs to get tackled, as well.

Nonetheless, we would call Hulu a successful first push to handle consumer needs for on-demand content. Worth checking out if you haven’t yet.