Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Hulu’s Growth Curve Flattens Out

ComScore’s newest video data are out. The takeaway: In April, Google’s (GOOG) YouTube dwarfed every other site. And Hulu came in second, with about 960 million views.

Does that sound familiar? It should: YouTube has always been at the top of comScore’s (SCOR) tallies. And since last November, Hulu’s U.S. video views have bounced around in the same zone, somewhere between 900 million and a billion views a month.

In other words, Hulu’s growth curve appears to be flattening.

Should Hulu be concerned? Not necessarily. The company–a joint venture between News Corp.’s (NWS) Fox, Disney’s (DIS) ABC and GE’s (GE) NBC–says it is now turning a profit, which few (if any) competitors can say. And it says it’s on a pace to double revenue in 2010 from the $100 million it generated last year.

Still, it looks as if Hulu’s most recent growth spurt came last fall, when it added ABC’s primetime shows to its lineup. Unless the company has a very big partnership announcement up its sleeve, it won’t have a new slug of inventory to show off next fall.

CEO Jason Kilar and company have plenty of other issues to deal with. Like: How to launch that subscription service at a price that makes sense, with shows that people want to pay for and that its network partners feel comfortable putting online.

So maybe this isn’t a huge priority. But a flat growth curve can’t be fun to look at, no matter how well the site is working.


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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