Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Coming to Viacom Shows That YouTube, Hulu Can’t Show You

One day, Web viewers will be able to go to any video site and see any TV show they want.

But until then, if you want to see your favorite stuff on the Web (legally), you’ll need a well-annotated map: You can see ABC shows like “Lost” on Veoh, but not on Joost. Joost can show you stuff like CBS’s “CSI,” but not NBC’s “Heroes”–you’ll need to go to or Hulu for that. Etc.

The newest set of directions: You’ll soon be able to see Viacom shows like Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob Square Pants” and MTV’s “The Hills” on, giving the video site something you can’t get on Hulu or Google’s (GOOG) YouTube–but can get on Joost and DailyMotion.

Except that Hulu already shows full episodes of two of Viacom’s premiere shows–“The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report”–via a one-off deal with Viacom (VIA). And… Sling redistributes all of Hulu’s content except for those two shows. [UPDATE: Sling will be getting both of those shows under terms of the new Viacom deal, I’m told.]

Confused? Of course you are. Because there really isn’t any rhyme or reason to this.

So while the networks and the video sites spend time on business development deals, it’s hard to begrudge those who throw up their hands and just go find what they want when they want at various torrent sites like The Pirate Bay.

In the meantime, here’s a (legal) clip from last night’s Daily Show, via Hulu.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work