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Why Hulu On The Xbox 360 Console Makes Sense

The press conference for Microsoft's Xbox 360 and PC at E3 in Los Angeles is expected to be starting 5 minutes earlier tomorrow for a very special, last minute addition which could well be Hulu's joining Microsoft's Xbox Live platform.

We already know that Hulu is set to launch in the UK by the end of the year and that only a few details remain to be settled. The free online video website already has a strategic partnership with French-based Dailymotion so plans for a pan European expansion is not out of the picture. Getting Microsoft on its side could well be the turning point for the service backed by NBC, Fox, Disney and many other networks and studios.

Youtube might be the most popular online video website right now but it is certainly not the most profitable. According to Comscore, Hulu could be getting up to 42 million unique visitors last month and Nielsen Online reckons that it has been growing at 490 percent year on year while being profitable all the way.

Unlike Youtube, Hulu's content is 100 percent legal and, some would say, traditional. Hulu has been more careful about expanding outside the US, preferring to go to European countries where advertising revenues are still significantly better than say in Africa or Asia.

Microsoft could integrate Hulu on the Xbox Live and take on the responsibility of selling out the advertising inventory generated in exchange. The site has been struggling to sell 100 percent of its inventory as its traffic surged which means potential lost revenues.

As for Hulu, the 20 million or so extra unique visitors from the Xbox Live environement could potentially be a lucrative niche market since they are less likely to have been exposed to Hulu's web-based desktop platform.

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Our Comments

Hulu should come to the UK, that's something that everyone is asking for. However, it could also undermine existing contracts with key partners here in the UK. For example, should viewers be allowed to view content well before they come to the UK market? With Kangaroo out of the picture for now, we strongly believe that Hulu has the strongest line up of all potential VoD solutions.

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Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.