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A week after Warner Music and YouTube got into a public spat resulting in Warner music videos being pulled from the site, The Financial Times is reporting that major music labels might strike up a deal with premium content darling Hulu. Options being mulled by the the labels reportedly include partnering with Hulu, creating a premium service on YouTube, or creating a standalone venture (similar to Hulu). The FT doesn’t get too specific with its reporting when it comes to the Hulu news, writing only that:
Representatives of two music companies, who would not be named, said they were in discussions with Hulu, adding that no partnership announcement was imminent but that the site appeared to be the favoured partner. “If it happens at all it will be with Hulu,” one said.
Here the bump in one party’s head fits the hole in the other. YouTube has the audience (both in size and target demographic), but hasn’t monetized those eyeballs effectively yet. Hulu can monetize its audience, but isn’t nearly as big as YouTube. The music labels have all the content, but a joint venture between those control freaks would most likely wind up being a nightmare for its creators and users.
The labels’ would be smart to put their content on Hulu. With music videos responsible for so much of its traffic, losing them would be the kick in the pants YouTube needs and provide incentive for YouTube to come up with a better way to monetize that traffic. The trick for Hulu would be adding a ton of content without junking up its interface.