Brian Stelter at the New York Times just reported on the news that Viacom and Comedy Central have decided to pull online streaming of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report from Hulu.
This means a lot to Hulu. But what does it matter to you where you watch these shows, if you watch them online and can continue to do so on the network's home pages? And as my Canadian, European and Australian fans (and readers elsewhere, too) always are quick to remind me, Hulu's free service isn't available outside of the United States, anyhow.
Stelter's piece notes that this is the first big "fracture" between the networks and Hulu, although Hulu recently picked up a big prize in ABC's programming — especially considering ABC's own proprietary media player is not fun to use. It does reveal, however, the continued difficulties in figuring out how to make enough revenue off of the free Internet. And with rumors abounding over the past several months that Hulu might try to institute fees of some sort or another, that's got to be resonate with casual viewers.
Here's part of the note Hulu's Andy Forssell wrote on the company blog today:
In the past 21 months, we‚Äôve had very strong results for both Hulu and Comedy Central, in terms of the views and revenue we‚Äôve generated, thanks to a couple of key trends. First, more and more of our viewers have voted with their time by making these shows a regular part of their day. And second, we‚Äôve driven steadily increasing revenue per view as advertisers voted with their budgets to take advantage of innovative ad formats and very strong advertising effectiveness. After a series of discussions with the team at Comedy Central, though, we ultimately were unable to secure the rights to extend these shows for a much longer period of time.
So for now, these shows are rotating off the service ‚Äî or more specifically, at 11:59 p.m. PST next Tuesday, March 9th, these shows will come down from Hulu. We encourage all of you to watch them at TheDailyShow.com and ColbertNation.com, either by going there directly or by searching on Hulu to help you get there. In the meantime, we are continuing to talk to the Comedy Central folks about a number of opportunities. They‚Äôre a great team and I‚Äôm confident that we‚Äôll be working with them in multiple ways in the future ‚Ä¶ so stay tuned and know that we are scouring the earth for more great content for you.
As more and more of us get into the habit of watching our TV shows online instead of on TV, this is an issue that's not going to go away anytime soon. In the meantime, you can still watch full episodes and clips of both shows at The Daily Show and Colbert Nation, respectively.