Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

"Trailer Trash" Is No "Family Guy," But Hulu Is Happy to Have It

For now, Hulu is the place to go if you want to watch network TV shows on the Web. But Hulu’s relationship with its owners, who supply it with most of those TV shows, is… a work in progress.

So you can see why CEO Jason Kilar is trying to build up a roster of his own shows — either stuff Hulu commissions itself, or stuff other studios bring to his site before they go anywhere else on the Web.

AdWeek’s Mike Shields reports that Hulu has “been quietly building out two separate content divisions” — one for “branded entertainment” (shows built-to-order for specific marketers, who get to weave their products or branding directly into the programming) and another focused on “niche comedy and documentaries.” (Intriguingly, Shields also says Hulu is planning a “major integration with Facebook” but doesn’t offer more details).

We’ve already seen a bunch of Hulu originals, from “If I Can Dream” reality show to the “Morning After” clip show it launched earlier this year.

Last week the company started airing “Trailer Trash“, a series of 5-minute cartoons in the Beavis and Butt-head mold, produced and financed by Lionsgate and Hudson Media. Later this year we’ll see a serial thriller starring Kiefer Sutherland, and a cartoon from LeBron James. Title: “The LeBrons”.

None of this stuff is going to rival “Lost” or “The Office” or “Family Guy”. And if any of that stuff goes away, it’s going to be a big problem for Hulu. But that’s not likely to happen — I’d be very surprised if Disney’s ABC or Comcast’s NBC or News Corp.’s Fox bailed on Hulu altogether (News Corp. also owns this Web site).

More likely: Some of the stuff that runs on Hulu now takes longer to get there, or stays there for a shorter window, or becomes more expensive for Hulu to show. Or perhaps all of the above. In that case, it’d be nice for Kilar and company to have their own shows on hand to help soften the blow.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald