Hulu Sacrifices Distribution for Destination

Ryan Moede, Former Viget

Article Category: #Strategy

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With the public launch of Hulu on Wednesday, all eyes will be on NBC and News Corps' new video network as they attempt to finally catch up with users demand for high quality video content online. But despite Hulu's slick interface and the millions of dollars being poured into it's development, I can't help but think it's a shortsighted effort. The problem is that NBC is trying to force the traditional broadcasting model into the web, rather than recognizing the full potential of revolutionizing how content can be delivered online. By limiting embedded videos to only 5 weeks (after which, they'll simply expire) and not allowing international access to videos, Hulu fails to take advantage of the anytime, anywhere content model provided by the web. Rather forcing users to play only NBC-approved digital sandboxes, they should learn from CBS, whose strategy is:
"to pursue open, multi-partner, nonexclusive relationships with established video destinations, widgets, and application vendor companies, as well as regular syndicators," says Quincy Smith, president of CBS Interactive. In short, says Smith, the company wants to "take it to where the eyeballs are."
While CBS's revenue from this model is still minimal at the moment, they recognize that the web is only going to continue disrupting the traditional broadcast model. The companies that succeed will be those that leverage a distributed approach across all digital touchpoints by utilizing easily sharable content and new metrics for measuring traffic performance. Perhaps it is fitting that in Swahili, Hulu's name means "cease" and "desist."

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