Saturday, May 2, 2009

Hulu Poised to Take Over the Universe

"Oh my god," were the first words out of my mouth, when I heard that ABC's parent company Disney had joined Hulu, but it should have been, "it's about friggin' time."

As you can tell from the posts below, ever since I ditched my TV, I use Hulu almost exclusively to watch online shows. Although I go to to watch Lost, ABC's homepage has one video ad blaring on its site for something like Desparate Housewives or Samantha Who, which quickly bypass when I leave the page.

Hulu's home page, on the other hand, exposes you immediately to five shows based on what's popular and timely, and makes it easy to scroll to about 30 more. It also shows you other videos you might like based on the videos you view.

But even if ABC had a site exactly like Hulu, it wouldn't have the additional content related to its shows--what other shows are like Lost? The ones that come closest are NBC's Heroes and Fox's Fringe, both of which are on Hulu. The old logic of not wanting viewers to discover other network's shows no longer applies in the new world of time-shifting--so long as the shows are good and viewers have the time, all shows can win.

The first inkling I should have had that the ABC/Disney deal was coming was when I saw an ad for ABC's Castle on Hulu. Castle, a decent Moonlighting/Murder She Wrote hybrid, features actor Nathan Fillion. Mainstream viewers would be most likely to recognize him from stints on the ABC shows Desparate Housewifes, One Life to Live and, delving way back, Two Guys and a Girl. However, he's positively worshiped by rabid fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly and Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, all of which are on Hulu. Adding fans like these could help this show survive past its first season.

So now ABC has gone beyond advertising its shows on Hulu and will likely actually post them there starting this summer. This is great for ABC, NBC and Fox but in a way, bad for me. The whole reason I started watching my shows on the internet was to avoid mindless channel surfing and unfortunately, Hulu is a really good at facilitating that. Thank goodness they don't have a deal with, or I'd really be done for. Project Runway or Best Week.

The Superbowl Ad that said it all

Update: Here's their new TV ad, which debuted yesterday
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