Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Hulu Goes to the Movies (That You’ve Never Heard Of)

Yesterday marked the first time a feature film appeared on Hulu before running anywhere else.

So why haven’t you heard about it?

Because if the people behind “In The Darkness” didn’t call their project a feature film, nobody else would. It’s a low-budget horror/suspense story that clocks in at just under 60 minutes and doesn’t star anyone you’ve heard of. Chances are you would have to work very, very hard to see it in a theater.

So it’s probably telling that Hulu–owned by News Corp.’s (NWS) Fox, GE’s (GE) NBC and Disney’s (DIS) ABC–isn’t going out of its way to promote the movie (though it does get a slot on the site’s “movie” landing page).

But there’s no reason to be flip about this, and I bet we see a lot more of this from the site. Hulu is already showing off “If I Can Dream,” a reality TV show that never actually ran on TV.

Running movies you can’t see in theaters makes perfect sense, too: Hulu should be a place to see long-tail stuff. What happens to the stuff that made the site huge–free episodes and clips of the networks’ most popular shows–is a different question, though.

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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