Hulu to hit the UK

Online TV service Hulu is set to start showing programmes in the UK as the Telegraph has revealed that the US company has been in talks with broadcasters such as ITV.

Currently the service can only be watched from the US, so a step towards the UK market would provide an interesting proposition for the online viewing public in Britain.

BBC iPlayer recently overtook Myspace and became the 20th most visited website in the UK, a sure sign that video on demand is indeed, in great demand.

Hulu presents the BBC with a small competitive issue. Does the BBC standalone and hope that it’s programming will be strong enough to beat an ITV plus Sky, plus whoever cohort? Or, do the BBC jump on the bandwagon?

It makes sense to me that the BBC will standalone. They are a public service broadcaster and as such, are tasked with making their content available to everyone as easily as possible.

Hulu will be offering an advert based service one must presume, to be able to afford the shows on offer from the likes of ITV, and would also perhaps toy with the idea of running a subscription based service. These are two potential barriers to entry in an online world where content is seen as in the public domain and therefore free.

However, Hulu would be successful in the UK for two reasons.

a) People want to consume TV content on their PCs

b) People don’t mind adverts before programmes

Where Hulu will face challenges is that the quality of the shows being put out by ITV at the moment is pretty low and they will find themselves possibly focussing on the wealth of US TV programmes as a USP, as many of these will be unavailable to anyone without freeview or Sky etc.

What does this mean for the production of UK based shows? Only time will tell.


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