It looks like we might be kept waiting – again – for hot US video-on-demand service Hulu to arrive on British shores.
Remember when Hulu said it wanted to launch a UK version of its web-based TV service? The launch was delayed and according to The Telegraph today there’s still no chance of the service opening up any time soon.
Hulu is reportedly frustrated at the slow pace of progress in cutting exclusive deals with broadcasters. The latest target date for a Hulu launch is understood to be June 2010 – nearly a whole year after the service’s original September 2009 goal.
Hulu was set to do a deal with ITV to carry their content exclusively. However, new ITV chairman Archie Norman has put all deals on hold during a ten-week strategic review period. Exclusive deals with Channel 4 and Channel 5 will be impossible as they already distribute content via YouTube and recently-launched SeeSaw.
Advertising terms with these companies are also proving difficult due to the prevailing attitude within the UK TV industry that broadcasters should be able to sell their own ad space and choose exactly which ads run alongside their programmes. This runs at odds with Hulu’s business model.
Hulu’s experience is another case, as with Google Voice, where a UK launch for a successful US service hits problems thanks to differing market conditions. We hope Hulu does eventually open up here. Rival service SeeSaw has its charms but as we noted in our recent review, Hulu makes TV watching a much more social experience complete with the ability to share programmes you enjoy and embed them in other websites.