Ever wonder how your favorite television programs come to be on Hulu? Think about it: the studios that own the rights to those shows don’t like giving them away. They sell episodes on iTunes, they sell DVD collections of their programming, and they sell advertising on the networks that carry the programs, so why give away programming and let Hulu have their content for free?
The truth is, they don’t. When you watch a program on Hulu it carries advertising. Hulu sells those ads and some of the revenue from them goes to the owners of the programs.
It’s Coopetition at its best. And last week Comedy Central decided they didn’t want to play the coopetition game any more. They’ve pulled The Daily Show and The Colbert Report from Hulu. You can still watch the programs for free over the Internet, but now you’ll have to come directly to the Comedy Central website.
Just as putting the programs on Hulu was a business change, media companies taking the shows back and selling their own advertising is a business change, too. Wasn’t that fast?
It makes sense for big companies to do this. Comedy Central is owned by Viacom, one of the largest media companies in the world. They have a sales force in place, so why pay Hulu to sell ads (the question is rhetorical)?
Remember, though, that Comedy Central produces their own programming. One company makes the show, owns it, and broadcasts it over their network. Generally, networks buy the right to air programming produced by others, who retain ownership rights and need companies like Hulu to do sales at the next level.
Business Change is situational, and often time-constrained. The people who watch Comedy Central’s programming might not like having to make an extra stop to find it, but going to another website is really no different than changing channels on your television. And Comedy Central wants you to program them in directly.
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