Veoh Pulls an OpenHulu

Online video aggregator Veoh now features content from Hulu, though there is no official partnership between the two. Veoh is basically pulling an OpenHulu — taking the embeds of shows like 30 Rock and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia straight from Hulu and plunking them down onto its own site.

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When asked about the move, Dmitry Shapiro, Veoh founder and chief innovation officer said, “Look, people want access to all kinds of content. We are striving to provide access.” Shapiro went on to say that Veoh is in official talks with all the major content providers, and that the site already has an official relationship for CBS TV content.

This seems like a strange move on the part of Veoh. It kind of cheapens the Veoh brand in that it comes off as though they couldn’t get a straight-up deal with Hulu, so they did a workaround instead. And it’s not even an original workaround; it’s already been done by the guys who run OpenHulu and TVParadise. Veoh has raised tons of cash and has a full staff — why lower themselves?

Hulu spokesperson Christina Lee has told us before that “Hulu encourages viral distribution of its service in accordance with its terms of use.” But I’m pretty sure Hulu wants the ads included in that viral distribution.

In what could just be a case of first-day bugs, the ads aren’t enabled or aren’t fully working yet on Veoh. A spokesperson for Veoh insisted that the loss of ads was a random, intermittent problem, and Shapiro emphatically stated that they did nothing to the Hulu player. Whatever the reason, I could not get ads to work on any Hulu episode I tried watching through Veoh. When I watched the same episodes through OpenHulu, the ads appeared just fine. I’m not sure what’s going on there, but my guess is that if Hulu is paying to stream those embeds, it’s going to want its ad money.

UPDATE: The ads look like they are working on Veoh now, and I got the following new comment from Hulu’s Christina Lee:

“While we do not have a distribution partnership in place with Veoh, Hulu videos are currently available on our distribution partner sites: AOL, Comcast, MSN, MySpace and Yahoo. As we’ve said before, we encourage the viral distribution of Hulu content in accordance with our terms of use.”

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