According to the New York Times, the video site Hulu is preparing to go public. Born as the major TV networks’ answer to YouTube, Hulu has managed not to crash and burn, which is what I thought was most likely at the time. Reportedly the company generated $100M in revenue last year, and should be in the $200M range next year. No word on the actual profitability of those revenues, but if they are indeed going public then soon that information will have to be filed with the FCC.
Hulu is currently putting together a paid service as well, which could bring in more $. At $9.99/month, users will be able to access older content, i.e. what we used to call ‘long tail’ stuff. Personally, I can’t imagine paying for $9.99 monthly for that, but I should probably withhold judgment until the actual product is released. However, with the success of the iPad, the increasing maturity of online video services, and the increasing sophistication of viewers, I think that the marketplace for such video is poised for a breakout in the next few years – finally breaking the hold of traditional television for good.
In such a world will and independent Hulu be a boon for its current owners, which include NBC, Disney, and Fox? I suspect they may lose control faster than they realize.
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