Hulu has pulled its content from rival television content portal TV.com, CNET has confirmed. Hulu’s decision to do so comes at a time when TV.com is on the rise, and Hulu must brace a potentially exclusive-less future.
According to Nielsen, since TV.com relaunched to become more of a video portal, its unique viewers jumped 263 percent in January. Ad Age reports TV.com’s 5.9 million unique visitors in January is actually greater than the 4.5 million unique visitors Hulu received during that same month. However, Hulu still dwarfs TV.com when it comes to videos (and accompanying ads) being watched; the site served 7.2 million unique video views in January, compared with roughly 250,000 on TV.com.
Growth from sites like TV.com and Yahoo TV is putting increased pressure on Hulu, which probably has one year left of its two year deal as the exclusive outside distributor of NBC and FOX content online. After Hulu’s exclusive deal ends, TV.com could go after NBC and FOX content directly. Even with exclusives in place, Hulu is not entirely the master of its domain, as evidenced by FX pulling It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia last month. This could explain, in part, why Hulu is trying to nip TV.com’s growth spurt in the bud by removing its content. CBS, which owns TV.com, does not have its content on Hulu, either.
Seeing the end of its exclusivity off in the distance also most likely spurred Hulu into its Super Bowl ad and subsequent TV commercial blitz (on NBC and FOX channels). Over the course of the year, Hulu needs to become synonymous in the minds of newteevee noobs as the place to watch TV content online, not the more-aptly named “TV.com.”