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Hulu, LLC
Type Joint venture
Founded March 2007
Headquarters Los Angeles, California, US
Area served United States
Key people Jason Kilar,[1] CEO
Eric Feng,[2] CTO
Owner NBC Universal (32%)[3]
Fox Entertainment Group (32%)
ABC, Inc (27%)
Providence Equity Partners
Hulu Employees
Slogan Anywhere, Anytime
Type of site Video on demand
Available in ENGLISH
Launched March 12, 2008

Hulu is a website offering commercial-supported streaming video of TV shows and movies from NBC, Fox, ABC, and many other networks and studios. Hulu videos are currently offered only to users in the United States.[4] In order to ensure that no international users outside the US have access to the videos, Hulu blocks many anonymous proxies and virtual private networks. Hulu provides video in Flash Video format, including many films and shows that are available in 360p and 480p. Hulu also provides web syndication services for other websites including AOL, MSN, MySpace, Facebook, Yahoo!, and Comcast's

Hulu is a joint venture of NBC Universal (General Electric), Fox Entertainment Group (News Corp) and ABC Inc. (The Walt Disney Company)[5], with funding by Providence Equity Partners, which made a US$100 million equity investment and received a 10% stake.[6]



The name Hulu comes from two Mandarin Chinese words, hulu (simplified Chinese: 葫芦traditional Chinese: 葫蘆pinyin: húlúWade-Giles: hu-lu) "calabash, bottle gourd" and hulu (simplified Chinese: 互录traditional Chinese: 互錄pinyin: hùlùWade-Giles: hu-lu) "interactive recording." The company blog explains:

In Mandarin, Hulu has two interesting meanings, each highly relevant to our mission. The primary meaning interested us because it is used in an ancient Chinese proverb that describes the hulu as the holder of precious things. It literally translates to "gourd," and in ancient times, the hulu was hollowed out and used to hold precious things. The secondary meaning is "interactive recording." We saw both definitions as appropriate bookends and highly relevant to the mission of Hulu.[7][8]


The Hulu venture was announced in March 2007 with AOL, MSN, Facebook, and Yahoo! planned as "initial distribution partners."[9] Jason Kilar was named the CEO in June.[10][11] The name Hulu was chosen in late August 2007, when the website went live, with an announcement only and no content. It invited users to leave their email addresses for the upcoming beta test.[12] In October, Hulu began the private beta testing by invitation, and later allowed users to invite friends.[13] Hulu launched for public access in the United States on March 12, 2008.[14]

Hulu began an advertising campaign during NBC's broadcast of Super Bowl XLIII with an initial ad starring Alec Baldwin titled "Alec in Huluwood."[15] The ad intended to humorously reveal "the shocking secret behind Hulu," portraying the site as being an "evil plot to destroy the world."[16] Advertisements have since aired featuring Eliza Dushku, Seth MacFarlane and Denis Leary.

On April 30, 2009, Disney announced that it would join the venture, purchasing a 27% stake in Hulu.[5]

At an industry conference on October 21, 2009, News Corporation Deputy Chairman Chase Carey stated that Hulu "needs to evolve to have a meaningful subscription model as part of its business" and that it would likely start charging for at least some content by 2010.[17] Carey's comment jibes with other News Corp. heads, including Rupert Murdoch who has expressed a desire to charge for content with a number of on-line units.[18]


Hulu distributes video both on its own website and syndicates its hosting to other sites,[19] and allows users to embed Hulu clips on their websites.[14] In addition to NBC, ABC and FOX programs and movies, Hulu carries shows from other networks such as Current TV, PBS, USA Network, Bravo, Fuel TV, FX, NFL Network, Speed, Big Ten Network, Syfy, Style, Sundance, E!, G4, Versus, A&E, Oxygen and online comedy sources such as Onion News Network.[20]

In November 2009, Hulu also began to establish partnerships with record labels to host music videos and concert performances on the site, including EMI in November 2009,[21] and Warner Music Group in December 2009.[22]

In early March 2010, headlines were made when Viacom announced that they were pulling two of the website's most popular shows,[23] The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, off of Hulu.[23] The programs had been airing on Hulu since late 2008.[24] A spokesman for Viacom noted: "In the current economic model, there is not that much in it for us to continue at this time. If they can get to the point where the monetization model is better, then we may go back."[24]

Watching Hulu on TV

Consumers can now also watch Hulu on their TVs, according to Popular Science's December 2009 Top 100 Innovations of the Year issue, by downloading MediaMall Technologies' PlayOn software which works with their networked Wii, Xbox 360, or DLNA-compatible device connected to their TV.[25]

Hulu Desktop

Hulu have released a beta version of Hulu Desktop, a standalone program for watching Hulu programming without a web browser. The program uses a 10-foot user interface and is designed to be compatible with existing computer remote controls. It requires a Flash player and runs on Windows, Linux, and OS X. Hulu Desktop does not currently support all content accessed through normal browser means.

HD programming

Hulu previously hosted High Definition television shows in 720p.[26] They were removed after less than a year on the website.


Currently, Hulu's content is only available in the United States with licensing reasons cited.[27]. Hulu was planning on launching in the U.K. and Republic of Ireland September 2009 but this has now been delayed to 2010.[28] About 10,000 hours of content from American networks will be available as well as, it is hoped, content from British networks BBC, ITV and Channel 4.[29] As of February 2009, Hulu has pulled its content from CBS Corp.'s, and from Boxee, a software firm that makes Internet video suitable for viewing on a large screen, like a television connected to a PC.[30] However, Hulu worked with PlayOn, which when combined with an Xbox 360, PS3, or certain other devices would allow playback of Hulu content on a TV. Also, Boxee produced a workaround for Hulu support.[31]

See also


  1. ^ "25 Smartest People in TV" Entertainment Weekly Page 17 of 26; Accessed October 23, 2009
  2. ^ "Executive Team". Hulu. Retrieved 2009-11-08. 
  3. ^ "NBC Officially Owns 32 Percent of Hulu (Until Comcast Acquires It)" Page 17 of 26; Accessed February 14, 2010
  4. ^ "Hulu is a US-only service. Unfortunately, we don't have international streaming rights for our content at this time. Our intention is to make Hulu's growing content lineup available worldwide as quickly as possible. This requires working with the content owners to clear the rights for each show or film in each specific region. It's a long-term project. We don't have a definite timeline yet, but we'll continue to work to make it happen." From Hulu - Support, retrieved 15 Feb 2010.
  5. ^ a b Kramer, Staci D. It's Official: Disney Joins News Corp., NBCU In Hulu; Deal Includes Some Cable Nets, April 30, 2009. Accessed October 30, 2009.
  6. ^ Brady, Shirley (2007-08-29). "NBC and Fox Jump Through Hulu Hoop". Retrieved 2007-08-29. 
  7. ^ Kilar, Jason (2008-05-14), What's in a Name?,, retrieved 2009-03-29 
  8. ^ Stack, Tim (2008-03-28). "Hulu: Five Burning Questions". Entertainment Weekly.,,20185419,00.html. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  9. ^ "Hulu - About". Hulu. 2007-03-22. Retrieved 2009-04-08. 
  10. ^ Hulu (2007-03-22). "NBC Universal and News Corp. Accounce New Online Video Venture". Press release. Retrieved 2008-03-28. 
  11. ^ Nat Worden (2007-03-22). "Google's Still on Top". Retrieved 2007-08-29. 
  12. ^ Nat Worden (2007-08-29). "Google's New Foe: Hulu". Retrieved 2007-08-29. 
  13. ^ Hulu (2007-10-29). "Hulu Debuts Via Private Beta". Press release. Retrieved 2008-03-28. 
  14. ^ a b Hulu (2007-03-12). " Opens to Public". Press release. Retrieved 2008-03-28. 
  15. ^ "Hulu - Hulu TV Ads: Alec in Huluwood." Accessed May 10, 2009.
  16. ^ McCarthy, Caroline (January 26th, 2009). "Hulu to shock the world with Super Bowl ad". CNET News. Retrieved 2009-02-02. 
  17. ^ Atkinson, Claire (2009-10-21). "Chase Carey: Hulu to Charge in 2010". Broadcasting & Cable. Reed Business Information. Retrieved 2009-11-08. 
  18. ^ Sandoval, Greg (22 October 2009). "More signs Hulu subscription service is coming". Media Maverick. CNET. Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  19. ^ Rebecca Dana and Emily Steel (2008-03-11). "Can Hulu Find Its Mojo With Viewers?". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2008-03-19. 
  20. ^ "ABC to offer shows on Hulu". The Live Feed. April 30, 2009. 
  21. ^ "Hulu, EMI Strike Deal for Music Videos, Concerts". PC Magazine. November 18, 2009.,2817,2356071,00.asp. Retrieved 24 December 2009. 
  22. ^ "Hulu, Warner Music Sign Deal for Music Content". PC Magazine. December 23, 2009.,2817,2357529,00.asp. Retrieved 24 December 2009. 
  23. ^ a b New York Daily News article: "Comedy Central yanks 'The Daily Show' and 'The Colbert Report' off Hulu."
  24. ^ a b Multichannel News article: "Dauman: Viacom Could Return To Hulu."
  25. ^ "MediaMall Technologies PlayOn Digital Media Server, Sneaking Web Video Into Your Living Room". Popular Science. 2009-11-12. Retrieved 2009-11-15. 
  26. ^ "Hulu - About : Video Quality". Hulu. 2008. Retrieved 2010-01-16. 
  27. ^ "Hulu - Support". Retrieved 2009-11-01. 
  28. ^ Barnett, Emma. Hulu UK launch delayed until 2010, The Daily Telegraph, August 24, 2009. Accessed October 30, 2009.
  29. ^ Barnett, Emma. Hulu set for September UK launch, Daily Telegraph, May 20, 2009. Accessed October 30, 2009.
  30. ^ Holmes, Elizabeth (2009-02-19). "Hulu Withdraws its content from, Boxee". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2009-02-19. 
  31. ^ Ronen, Avner (2009-04-25). "new boxee version for Ubuntu, update for Mac and Apple TV". boxee blog. Retrieved 2009-05-10. Hulu also tries to become international and all the content will be available worldwide. Hulu says that has some legalities involved so it will take some time. We estimate that it will be available for the visitors in the mid of the year 2010.

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