Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Convergence Alert - Hulu To Stream NBC Feed

Hulu is streaming tonight's second Presidential Debate, taking its feed direct from NBC, in a move that might just irk cable operators and local broadcasters. And while it is in the public good to enable access to these debates in whatever form, it demonstrates how content and the audience it serves, can bypass local broadcast stations and cable operators to reach its audience.

"The feed will be provided by NBC News and will run about 90 minutes. In addition, Hulu will live stream the final presidential debated slated to be held Oct. 15. In that case, Hulu will carry the Fox News coverage. Fox and NBC are joint partners in Hulu."

As Time Warner fights with LIN Broadcasting over retransmission fees, the argument gets strengthened when content can be accessed over the web. Per the NYT, "In the midst of a contract dispute with a local broadcaster last week, Time Warner Cable did something that was until recently unthinkable: it told its customers to hook up a computer to their television and watch their favorite shows using the Internet." And for cable operators like Time Warner who rely on subscription to their cable line-up, including broadcast channels, the concern is that consumers will stop paying for a cable connection and rely strictly on their internet connection for content. It is why Time Warner doesn't want to pay a fee for content that is free elsewhere. Thus, the Hulu move while applauded for its desire to bring this content to the web, is dealing with a very slippery slope.

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