Posted May 5, 2008 6:41 pm by with 5 comments

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Back in October, NBC took its popular, officially-sanctioned clips off YouTube in favor of their coming Hulu. I (and many others) derided the decision:

[I]s it really wise to pull your content from the most popular video site online to put it on your own untested, unproven and apparently behind-schedule video site? On the Internet, you have to go where the people are—it’s not an ‘if you build it, they will come’ world anymore.

So good luck with this one, NBC.

In the interim, it seems that Hulu has not only launched, but actually received some decent reviews over time. Of course, decent reviews do not a YouTube killer make, and NBC is rethinking its October decision. The LA Times appears to have been the first to spot the YouTube Hulu channel, likening the effort to “ABC taking out an ad for itself during CBS’ prime time. Or the Dodgers setting up a merchandise booth at AT&T Park. Or no, how about Coke adding themselves to Pepsi’s Wikipedia entry.”

I’m definitely not going to go that far. Hulu has had content deals with everyone from AOL to MSN, and this is just another one. While it may not bring in the advertising dollars that their own portal or other partnerships do, I’m sure the YouTube channel brings in by far the most eyeballs.

No, I’m going to have to agree more with Techdirt:

While Hulu surprised many critics with a well-designed site, it appears that Hulu hasn’t been able to generate the type of traffic executives expected. So, despite it being a YouTube competitor, Hulu has tucked its tail between its legs and set up its own channel on YouTube. Apparently, the “build it and they will come” philosophy of NBC Universal’s execs didn’t work quite as well as planned.

I’m not going to say I told you so, but really, truly, in those exact words, I did.. But what do you think—is this a major concession for NBC or a mark that they’re finally accepting reality?

  • They should have learned from Google. With all Google’s clout and expertise, even it couldn’t build a YouTube killer–so it bought it instead.

  • This could be a cost issue as much as a traffic one. YouTube doesn’t seem to have a positive revenue model yet. Hulu may be realizing that it costs a boatload to serve full episodes with a handful of ads compared to TV.

    Why not let YiuTube supplement the cost of bandwidth?

    Ed Kohler’s last blog post..Top Blog Posts for April

  • This may be off-base, but I think this may have something to do with Google News showing video in new search results. NBC wanted to be there when their video news segments started showing up in search results. Yesterday I saw Associated Press and Reuters videos on Clinton/Obama contest. Today I saw an AlJazeera English video on the same topic. The video results were announced by Google News on their blog back in August of last year. Barry Schwartz blogged about it at SearchEngineland – but I hadn’t seen those little video “+” symbols in my news search results until yesterday. I think the Networks are next to get included. Just speculation based on what I’m seeing.

  • Jordan McCollum

    I don’t think so. Hulu’s YouTube channel features The Simpsons, Family Guy, The Office, My Name is Earl, Moment of Truth, King of the Hill, SNL and 30 Rock. The profile says they joined two months ago, and still the only clips that show up in regular SERPs are unlicensed ones.

    I’m guessing that if the networks wanted to be there, they could easily do what it takes to get there without signing up on YouTube. Were the AP’s and Reuters’s videos hosted on YouTube?

  • They’re back because it pays to be there now. I’ve since confirmed that YouTube hosted video for approved news sources is showing up in Google News Search results. A group of Hearst-Argyle owned affiliates now shows local news video for the group. Here is a YouTube Press Release from June 4th of 2007 discussing a rev share deal on advertising. Here’s a Broadcast & Cable story from November updating the Hearst-Argyle revenue share to more stations. Here’s a Hearst-Argyle on-air announcement at YouTube. Seems it’s all about the rev share.