The head of Hulu, the new online video joint venture between NBC Universal and News Corp has predicted that television companies will follow the film industry's lead, by releasing programmes simultaneously around the world.
Jason Kilar, chief executive of Hulu, which launches in a test phasethis week, said the explosion of online video made it inevitable the TV industry would also move towards simultaneous global distribution. Hollywood studios are releasing films at the same time in different markets to fight piracy. “Television is heading in the same direction. At the end of the day, the users will win and will get access to content on their own terms.”
Providence, the private equity group, has invested $100 million (E69m) in Hulu, which is a free, advertising-supported service. Unlike YouTube, Hulu will shun user-generated content in favour of programmes from NBC and News Corp-owned Fox. Hulu has also struck content deals with MGM and Sony.
Yahoo, Microsoft's MSN network, Comcast, AOL and MySpace will also distribute content from Hulu on their own sites to ensure it reaches as broad an audience as possible.