Viacom and PBS join Hulu: a very big deal

Viacom is now distributing its hit shows “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report” via Hulu, the NewsCorp, NBCU portal for television shows online. These two shows are but a crack-in-the-door to all that is Viacom, and one day CBS will get on board, too. Hulu has also announced that it’s adding some PBS shows later this month.

I’ve said all along that the only way this really works is if everybody’s along for the ride, because in this way, Hulu becomes “spectrum with spectrum” — a special corner of the Web that’s used for TV shows. It lets the shows compete with each other as if they were competing on cable or over-the-air. It’s the proper use of the Web for this kind of content, and Hulu is establishing itself as the leader in creating an internet conduit that’ll one day (hell, it already is) be served to your TV set, too.

I’m a regular Hulu user, and I think the experience is great. The emotional season-ender of House tugged at my heartstrings as I watched on my laptop just as it would’ve done in my living room.

I also think that local stations should consider doing something similar for news programming, and with the success of Hulu, we may actually see that kind of coöperation some day. I’m not, however, holding my breath.


  1. I just visited Hulu for the first time, based on your recommendation. Um, why do they only have clips of so many shows? I’m not a big TV person (don’t even own one) but I saw some shows I watched, once upon a time, and thought it would be cool to see if any episodes I remember are online. The Facts of Life, Law and Order: SVU, and several others are nothing but clips, and reviews from people begging for full episodes. Are they planning on full episodes eventually?

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