What’s the catch I hear you cry? They have pre roll ads, and ads during the shows. Pre roll ads are basically ads that show before you watch the video. Kinda like movie previews before the actual movie. The advantage is that you can watch anytime, as you demand it. Its a partnership by a couple of online giants AOL, MSN, Myspace, Yahoo. At the moment, they are mostly showing stuff from some of the major US tv networks.
Its explained a lil better on their website:
“Hulu brings together a large selection of videos from more than 50 content providers, including FOX, NBC Universal, MGM, Sony Pictures Television, Warner Bros. and more. Users can watch current primetime TV such as The Simpsons and The Office the morning after they air, classics like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Married…with Children, movies like The Usual Suspects and The Big Lebowski, and clips from Saturday Night Live and other popular TV shows and movies.”
This is a pretty big thing from the TV network/movie studio industry. But I did notice recently, that you can actually download old tv shows from www.nbc.com for free! Without any ads! I was searching for a tv series called the Black Donnellys which Rahul had told me about. I’d seen the tv pilot about a year ago, and really liked it. And then I was searching for where to download it, and I read on a website that they stopped showing the series after 10 episodes and simply put the last 3 online to download! I recall that another friend Nina, mentioned that you could straight up download episodes without ads from the NBC website. This huge back catologue has just opened up!
Consumers of online content, have been downloading tv and movies for years, with an ever increasing intensity. It’s what we want – to be able to download what we want and watch it whenever we want. We were downloading the new episodes of Heroes and Prison break before it hit Australian tv! If I wanted a movie, I could easily go to www.torrentreactor.com or www.mininova.com. Type in the name of the movie, tv show, cartoon, song or album that I wanted. And viola! I’d have it in a matter of hours or by overnight.
Its the online environment we are living in now. It was only a matter of time before it became official to download/stream these via legitimate means. I went to a networking conference and heard the Marketing Manager of Channel 9 speak. He mentioned that he saw Australian tv is moving that way too, having the option of streaming tv and movie content from their website.
The restrictions with Hula is that you can’t watch it if you are outside the States. Which sucks! And you can’t download, only stream – i.e. you can watch it, but you can’t have a copy of it on your computer and pass onto a friend.
However, I’m not sure what is going to happen to DVD sales. For the past decade, that has been a huge boon for tv networks and movie studios. If you can watch it online for free, will you still want to buy it? It will still appeal to DVD enthuasists who still want to own copies of their favourite tv series and movies.
But hey, things are changin’!
I’m out like Youtube 😛