Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Why Did Hulu Disappear From CBS’s TV.com? Because It Can.

snl-huluWeb video mystery of the day: Why have Hulu’s videos disappeared from TV.com, the Hulu-like video site that CBS recently relaunched?

I’ll confess up front that I don’t know, and the two companies themselves aren’t being helpful in explaining the kerfuffle. But here’s the best guess from online video folks who know both companies: Hulu isn’t pumped up about supplying its content to a competitor–especially since CBS isn’t supplying its content to Hulu.

For what it’s worth, Hulu, the joint venture between News Corp.’s (NWS) Fox and GE’s (GE) NBC, offers up this statement: “Hulu has contractual rights with regards to our relationship with TV.com and we are exercising those rights. Out of respect for their confidentiality, we will not disclose our discussions.” CBS offers up a more concise “no comment.” (News Corp. is the owner of Dow Jones, which owns this Web site.)

[UPDATE: CBS weighs in with a saber rattling statement on Thursday afternoon: “CBS Interactive is well within its rights to stream Hulu video content on TV.com under its agreement with Hulu. We are evaluating our next steps at this time.” ]

The background: CNET, which CBS (CBS) purchased last summer, has owned the TV.com domain for several years. This year, CBS relaunched the site as a Hulu-like video portal. Included in the launch was video from Hulu itself, which syndicates its stuff to dozens of sites, including MySpace, Time Warner’s (TWX) AOL, and Sling.com.

The wrinkle: Hulu’s distribution deal was inked with CNET when the company wasn’t owned by CBS. And CBS doesn’t provide its video to Hulu. You can connect the dots here, and that’s what several folks I’ve talked to today are doing. If either one of the companies decides to become more expansive, I’ll update when appropriate.

In the meantime, here’s a clip of “NCIS,” a CBS show you can’t get on Hulu:

And a clip from last weekend’s “Saturday Night Live,” an NBC show you can no longer see on TV.com:


Latest Video

View all videos »

Search »

There was a worry before I started this that I was going to burn every bridge I had. But I realize now that there are some bridges that are worth burning.

— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle