Hulu hoopla means no on-demand TV for the UK

29 April 2010

Bitterwallet - Hulu logoHulu - the online TV-on-demand service - is huge in the US with millions of viewers, but you're never going to know just how good it is; just two days after we suggested you keep an eye on it, you'll be pleased, or disappointed, to learn your eye can be freed up for other duties - Hulu UK has been shelved.

Hulu has prospered in the States because it is owned by TV companies with rich back-catalogues of shows - News Corp, NBC Universal and Disney. The plan was for the service to launch in the UK last September, but a year of discussions with UK broadcasters have come to nothing; ITV don't want third parties to offer its shows on-demand, and neither Channel 4 nor Five want Hulu selling advertising on their behalf.

It seems a little odd that Hulu's deal relied so heavily on three terrestrial television channels, since their content is widely available across the web already; a mix of satellite, cable and (especially) US content together with archive material would probably have been an appealing proposition to begin with. Ah well. RIP Hulu, the greatest online television service there never was - for us, at least.

In other online televisual news, Virgin Media are kicking up a stink over Project Canvas - a new set-top box that will provide linear and on-demand television, as well as hosting applications from content providers. Canvas is backed by a consortium of media companies including all the terrestrial broadcasters, plus BT, Talk Talk and Arqiva.

Virgin Media has submitted its views to the Office of Fair Trading's Project Canvas review, stating that a closed system requiring customers to buy another set-top box is unfair, and that the BBC is misusing the licence fee since the service will not be accessible to all the public.


  • CompactDistance
    And in other news, the Digital Economy Bill passed, meaning you can be disconnected for downloading shows while the content providers don't have to provide a legal alternative. Fantastic.
  • stu
    problem is that the american shows eg the good ones are owned by E4, ITV, Bravo, Sci Fi etc in terms of UK broadcast rights they all paid money to be the only ones allowed to broadcast the programmes. so they wouldnt be able to show those either. so if they cant sign that deal with ITV et al then what woukld they show?
  • donttouchthehair
    "then what would they show?" Top Gear, QI, Mock the Week . . .
  • Deejay
    Hang on. Since when was any of Virgin Services "Accessible to all the public"?
  • dunfyboy
    Why don't they rename it "Dave Online"? Guess we'll just have to keep using "other means" till Mandy catches us all.
  • Gunn
    Agree with Deejay, what's virgins problem.
  • Ben G.
    What about - they have all the stuff a hulu would have and more!

What do you think?

Your comment