The launch of US-based free video on demand service, Hulu.com, has apparently been pushed back from September this year - which is next week - to early 2010, possibly in January, according to latest reports.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Hulu.com has yet to strike any partnership with UK broadcasters although the article says that ITV.com is on the verge oof signing a non-exclusive deal in exchange for some equity in the UK venture.
Put it otherwise, there are not enough UK content for it to launch. Even with the ITV deal in the bag, Hulu will need to bargain hard in order to get a second UK broadcaster, after which it can prepare for a UK roll out.
Now there's no reason why this should be a problem, a mainstream broadcaster like Five for example, sources a significant portion of its programme lineup from outside the UK.
Furthermore, if Microsoft has been able to capture content BBC Worldwide for its MSN player, then surely, Hulu, which is co-owned by NBC, FOX, and ABC, has the necessary connections and clout to convince BBC Worldwide to join it.
The main issue according to the Telegraph revolves around who will be in control of the ad sales. ITV wants to be in charge of ad sales around its programmes, basically treating Hulu like Freeview.
Even if the partnership goes ahead, ITV will be facing a conundrum since ITV player has managed to attract good advertising revenue because it has been successful at pitching the fact that it is an exclusive service.
If ITV and indeed other players on the VOD market (Five, Channel 4 or BBC) join Hulu, then, they are likely to lose significant advertising revenues.
Our Comments There is a big difference between the UK and US video on demand market. In the US, Youtube dominates a market where neither NBC, FOX or ABC have a significant online presence. This is not the case over here where faster broadband speed coupled with BBC's iPlayer ubiquity have made VOD an outright success.