Hulu Launches with Warner, Lionsgate

Wow Hulu, you really pile it on, don’t you? I can barely digest all the news the company is putting out tonight. First and foremost, it’s launching tomorrow. It’s also signed Warner Bros., Lionsgate, the NBA, and the NHL (but not Quincy Smith’s CBS). And the site will start featuring premium web content from the likes of Vuguru, WatchMojo and WineLibrary TV on the same level as big media.

For the first time, the company is putting out numbers: It’s had 5 million viewers in the past 30 days, including video viewed on partner sites like AOL and MySpace. That’s pretty insane for a semi-private beta. Since 18 weeks ago, when Hulu first let anyone in, the company’s video players have been embedded more than 50,000 times on nearly 6,000 sites.

Though the beta started with mostly TV shows, Hulu has beefed up its movie collection, with more than 100 movies (still nothing compared to Netflix or even iTunes). The site’s viewing experience has also improved, instituting full seasons of some current shows and movies supported by trailers rather than interrupting ads.

In an emailed press release, Hulu said its many of its beta advertisers are renewing, and mentioned Best Buy, Chili’s, DirecTV, Intel, Nissan, State Farm, and Unilever as current advertisers.

I wouldn’t usually just excerpt a list, but I think it’s worth doing here to show the full breadth of content now available. Below are Hulu’s named partners:

FOX, NBC Universal, MGM, Sony Pictures Television, Warner Bros. Television Group, as well as Access Hollywood, AST Dew Tour, BNET, Bravo, Broadway Video, CenterStaging, Chic.tv, Chiller, CHOW, CNET, Comedy Time, E! Entertainment Television, ExerciseTV, FEARnet, Ford Models, Fox Atomic, Fox Movie Channel, Fox Reality, Fox Searchlight, Fox Sports, Fox TV Studios, Fuel TV, FX Networks, G4TV, Gamespot, Gamespy, Hidden Universe, IGN, Image Entertainment, Lionsgate, LX.TV, MEN7, Mojo, Movieola, My Network TV, National Geographic Channel, National Geographic Digital Shorts, NBA, NBC Sports, NBCU TV, NHL, Oxygen, Paley Media, Red Bull, Reveille, Salient Media, SciFi Channel, Shout! Factory, Sleuth Channel, SpaceRip, Speed, Sundance Channel, Taste TV, The Fight Network, The Golf Channel, The Onion, The Style Network, Thought Equity, TV Guide, TVG, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Twentieth Century Fox Television, Twentieth Television, Universal Pictures, USA Network, Versus, Vuguru, WatchMojo, Wine Library TV and World Wrestling Entertainment®.

Hulu has done a great job of catering to the early adopter audience, for instance giving away thousands of beta invites to readers of this blog. We’ll be watching to see if it can hit the mainstream. We know some 16 percent of American Internet households are watching TV online already.

Streaming web video is never going to be the be-all end-all, but as a happy Hulu beta tester I would bet it’s gonna be big.

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