Today Andy Forssell, a self-proclaimed “Hulu Content Guy,” posted on the official Hulu blog that The Daily Show and The Colbert Report would both be leaving Hulu as of March 9th. A quick glance at Hulu’s front page shows that these are among the two most popular shows on the entire site, so this is bad news for the streaming site.
On the other side of things, no more Daily Show on Hulu is bad news for users who want a unified content portal. Part of the reason why Hulu is so powerful is that users can log on and dig through a whole mess of content. But presumably Viacom, parent company of Comedy Central, is pulling the shows because it wants to power its own online content.
As a user, this is a bit of a nuisance. Now instead of going to Hulu and watching these two shows, you have to first go to TheDailyShow.com, and then you take a trip over to ColbertNation.com.
The danger to watch for here is that content providers really do want to be your one and only source for their programming. Universal Music Group would love to sell digital music to you directly, but they can’t because the market didn’t grow that way. When it comes to music, if you want to play ball, you need to be on Amazon and iTunes and all the rest.
But the streaming market is new, and Viacom and the others want to be in control this time around. Now if you want to watch The Daily Show online, Viacom can put in as many ads as they want (yes, one short ad is almost definitely more effective than a whole mess of ads, but that’s its own argument). I think we’d all be much happier just having everything on one site, put online in real time.
[Editors note - All the cool kids were already watching at TheDailyShow.com, just so you know.]