Hulu is owned by NBC and Fox while CBS owns TV.com. And like broadcast channels, each is a platform for professionally produced content. In the world of TV, a series on one channel would never appear at the same time on another, but in the world of the web, the same content could be found on multiple sites. Till now. Hulu has taken its content off TV.com. "It's the first bit of powder to fly in what promises to be a feisty battle between the two Web TV destination sites." Have we gotten to the point where content doesn't have to be everywhere and viewers will build brand preference to sites that contain the content they prefer. "Hulu got a huge bump in September and November being the main place to find Tina Fey's SNL Sarah Palin impersonations on the Web." Why share that audience with your competitor; the viewer is likely to watch more than one video, why not keep them on your preferred platform.
TV survived with multiple broadcast channels each offering unique content. The same should hold true for the big video platforms. Each is defined by its content, Hulu as the home to NBC and Fox produced content, TV.com to CBS and CNET content, You Tube to user generated content. As their content libraries grow and with it their brand value, consumer will seek them out when tuning in to web videos.
So are Hulu and TV.com really rivals? Or are they each ultimately competing with cable companies for access to the viewer. In a separate article, the real question is "When Will Comcast Need To Worry About Hulu?" Younger customers are preferring a broadband connection to a cable line. Technology has changed the rules. Just as these same consumers have dropped landlines for mobile, cable may face the same dilemma. Last quarter, Comcast lost almost a quarter of a million subscribers. Did they go to telcos like Verizon and AT&T, or did they simply drop the cable portion of their subscription. Cable's triple play - cable, phone, and broadband - deals with two services that the younger consumer no longer desires. The broadband connection may be all that matters. How will cable survive? Can they still offer unlimited access for a monthly fee or will the broadband bill star to resemble a utility bill - like electricity, gas, and water - measured strictly by usage. As content moves off cable to the web, this may be the only means to stay profitable.