Monday, May 4, 2009

ABC Shows Coming to Hulu: Thank Goodness?

While I don't watch many ABC television programs, I was a little delighted to see that Disney struck a deal with the Fox/NBC joint venture to post their programming on the website.


Hulu offers a better viewing experience than; it's less clunky and - intelligently - offers fewer frills. When viewing an show in full screen and it cuts to a commercial, the viewer leaves full screen to go to a small streaming video ad in the corner of a screen that features a gigantic banner ad. Plus, you have to click on the screen to go back to your program unless you fiddle around and find the "Settings" menu on the website, which oddly features the exact opposite of what you want to be default settings. looks much nicer than Hulu on the surface, but it lacks one of Hulu's strongest selling points: the queue. The queue - a complete copy of Netflix - allows a viewer to sit at his or her computer and pick out programming for a desired amount of time. After that he or she doesn't need to sit directly infront of the screen until that period is up.

What surprises me the most though is the fact that Disney did not try to right its course with with the advent of Hulu.'s streaming video predated Hulu by at least two years, and you would think they might be a little more apt to fix their problems rather than fold and go in with the competition. This action leaves me with a couple of scenarios running through my mind as to why this occured:

1) Disney wanted to update the site but realized it would be cheaper just to throw programming up on Hulu and then offer expanded offerings on their own webiste.

2) Disney realized that Hulu's combined network programming makes it easier for advertisers to come spend money and they were being left out. The profile of a TV on the internet viewer is a specific demo/psychographic. If Hulu continues to grow in popularity - and programming - Disney would be left out in the cold when it comes to advertising dollars.

Finally, this whole thing is leaving me wondering what Viacom/CBS will end up doing. While they post Comedy Central programming on Hulu, has a streaming player too, which is rather glitchtastic. But, they also offer programming that is both good and not on television anymore. Currently, a viewer can watch the first two seasons of Twin Peaks on, and that's a very good idea. By offering unique programming - that is good - to the internet medium CBS has a chance to make some ad revenue of off old properties other than DVD sales.

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