A new television streaming service from the States called Hulu is hoping to launch in the UK this September. Similar to the BBC iPlayer and ITV player the Hulu service will provide video playback of film, television programmes, film clips news etc. Hulu is hoping to launch in collaboration with the major UK players including BBC, ITV and Channel 4 providing repeats of big UK television programmes as well as up to 3,000 of content from the US.
The Hulu video-on-demand service is owned by Providence Equity Partners, News Corp and NDC Universal and in the States provides content from almost 150 major television companies, including Fox, NBC, Universal. National Geographic, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros, MGM, Comedy Central. Users are able to watch the major television shows like the Simpsons, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The office for up to 30 days after original transmission and it is likely that a similar format would be adopted for the service here in the UK.
Hulu is a non-download service and only requires the use of a PC or laptop with internet connection and Flash 9.0. It is not expected that users in the UK would need to pay a fee to watch the films and clips but revenue for the company would be received from advertisers. Negotiations regarding advertising have at the present moment in time broken down between Hulu, ITV and Channel 4, due to retention of rights issues, and insider has been quoted as saying “Hulu is proposing a model that works in the American marketplace – however Channel 4 and ITV will not consent to that. Both parties always retain the commercial rights and sell their own ad inventory. Hulu executives want a September launch and are running out of time if they continue with this line of negotiation.”
At the present moment in time Hulu is only available to view in the States and if negotiations do not continue between the proposed partners the probability of a September launch is highly unlikely.