It’s probably no secret that YouTube is the 800lb. gorilla that no one can seem to come close to topping. When Google finally decides to purchase you rather than compete, you know you’ve made it. Since Google acquired YouTube, the brand has remained largely unchanged and as popular as ever. It seemed like that was pretty much the state of things, and it was accepted that competition was fairly futile.
Unless you’re NBC and Fox and you think you might have the money between the two of you to raise the stakes. In that case, you join forces and start creating Hulu.com.
Copyright issues have plagued YouTube, which is a pretty open atmosphere and so many submissions policing them for restricted content can be a challenge. With Hulu, it’s consisting of studios granting access to the TV properties they already own, from famous titles to really obscure ones plus some shorter snippets from things like famous Saturday Night Live skits.
The beta version of the site was launched in October, and you can (and still) only access it by applying for an invitation. A writer over at Adweek has gotten in, and has a nice run-down (update: link is now obsolete) of what it’s like behind the Hulu.com curtain.
The online video revolution is still being pioneered in many ways. While some major players have been set up, it’s anyone’s guess as to the staying power of YouTube as #1, because there’s a serious challenge in finding ways to make money from things that are, well, free. The addition of something like Hulu.com shows another way that traditional media is venturing out into what is likely very scary territory for them in order to stay relevant in a rapidly changing landscape.