Hulu Abandoning UK : What's Next?

US site Hulu announced that it will be pulling out of the UK after failing to agree on terms with British broadcasters, leaving thousands of potential viewers sorely disappointed.

The official stance is that Hulu and the likes of Channel 4 and ITV had not managed to find some common grounds when it comes to who was going to sell advertising on Hulu.

The fault lines, we understand, run significantly deeper; the UK market is extremely polarised with some significant players out there including Youtube, 4OD, iPlayer, Seesaw, Canvas and TVCatchup.

There's also the fact that Hulu, which would debut as a free service, would compete with some of its most important partners overseas and could have devastating impact on the overseas revenues for ABC, Fox and NBC, the backers of Hulu.

So what's next? Hulu can decide to comply with the demands of local broadcasters and water down its list of wants; for example it should allow ITV to sell advertising on Hulu as others including TVCatchup, MSN Player and Seesaw have done.

It can also offer a "free" light version of the website that shows archives (like MSN player) rather than recent programmes - thereby focusing on the long tail.

The other option is to offer a paid version of the site that offers full access to content from the three broadcasters although that could seriously miff the likes of Five and Channel Four; they don't want Hulu to stream whole series before them or they could lose serious advertising revenue.