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Original: So TV.com’s relaunch as a possible competitor to Hulu may not be sitting right with the News Corp-NBCU joint venture after all. The CBS-owned online video site, which was relaunched last month, has pulled down Hulu content from its site, according to reports and confirmed by CBS-owned News.com. CBS has said previously that TV.com is not competing with Hulu, but rather wants to be a community site with lots of video content on it. [TV.com is still teasing episodes from Hulu, including Monday night’s Tonight Show; viewers following the link from the video page get a black TV window and no explanation.]
CBS was invited early on to be a part of Hulu, but it has consistently declined to be part of it, instead focusing on syndicating its content on other sites directly. Meanwhile, then CNET-owned TV.com signed on early as a Hulu distribution partner (along with *AOL* and others), even before Hulu had an official name. More after the jump
There have been talk of renewing Hulu’s distribution contracts this year on different terms, after a year’s exclusivity period with NBCU and News Corp (NYSE: NWS) ends. (Hulu officially launched in March last year.) But the TV.com distribution contract may not have been renewed in time for the deal to continue. Would be interesting to see if the same happens with *AOL*, MSN, *Yahoo*, Comcast’s Fancast.com and others — whether these companies agree to the new contract and what form that contract takes. Usually the distribution partner gets a cut of all the ad inventory sold on the distributing sites, usually around 10 percent.
*NBC Universal* tried it once before when it pulled its content from *Apple* iTunes, before deciding to return last September, after a nine month break.
Update 1: AdAge has a slightly different take on it, with TV.com and other sites vying to do their own direct deals: “Right now TV.com is distributing Hulu, and getting 10% of ad revenue from views that originate on its site, but TV.com could just as soon do its own content deals, even with NBC and Fox once Hulu’s exclusivity ends. It didn’t take long for Hulu to build an audience, and a brand, but going forward, the question is whether it can defend what it has built.”
More when we hear back from CBS or Hulu….