Comedy Central to Leave Hulu
Hoping to catch a few episodes of The Daily Show with John Stewart or The Colbert Report? Better update your bookmarks, because as of Tuesday, March 9 at 11:59 PM, the shows will no longer be available on Hulu as, the video streaming site announced in a recent blog post.
The Viacom-owned shows were two of the most popular titles in Hulu's catalog, and generated a lot of viewer enthusiasm and advertising revenue for the site. Despite the popularity of the two shows, however, Hulu says it was "unable to secure the rights to extend these shows for a much longer period of time."
End of an online era
Hulu's announcement marks the end of a 21-month relationship between Hulu and the Viacom-owned Comedy Central. In addition to losing Stewart and Colbert, Hulu said a number of other Comedy Central shows, presumably Strangers with Candy and Halfway Home, would be leaving the site at the same time.
If you are one of the many viewers that relied on Hulu to get your truthiness and daily moment of Zen, don't worry, you can still catch The Daily Show and The Colbert Report online at thedailyshow.com and colbertnation.com.
Although the shows may be off Hulu for now, there is a chance Comedy Central may return to the popular video streaming site. Hulu said in its blog post that it is continuing to talk to Comedy Central about a "number of opportunities," but didn't comment further. Comedy Central has also left the door open for a return to Hulu, telling The New York Times : "We had a great experience with Hulu, and we hope to work with its team again in the future."
Many critics are saying the breakdown between Comedy Central and Hulu points to a key weakness in Hulu's business strategy. Even though several major television producers own Hulu jointly--NBC Universal, News Corp., and the Walt Disney Company--the site has had problems securing premium content from other producers. CBS, for example, continues to resist partnering with Hulu, and early last year the network expanded its own streaming site TV.com with a variety of content partnerships including a temporary deal with Hulu.
Despite its difficulties, however, Hulu and online video streaming continue to be wildly popular with users. Last October, at the height of the fall TV season, 856 million videos were watched on Hulu, making the site the second-most popular video content portal among U.S. Internet users after Google-owned sites, according to metrics firm comScore.