Web Shows Get Ambitious

Technology and media companies are racing to create Internet-video hits closer to the scale of traditional TV, as consumers start to watch more video on Internet-connected televisions and tablet computers.

Netflix Inc. on Friday made the most expensive entry in the gold rush, saying it had cut a deal to produce a new drama starring Oscar winner Kevin Spacey on its Internet service. But companies like Yahoo Inc., AOL Inc. and Hulu LLC are also ramping up their efforts to secure original Web productions, investing more dollars in Web shows.

Hulu, an Internet venture focused on distributing traditional TV shows, recently hired a former movie executive to develop more original programs, according to people familiar with the matter. Next up on Hulu’s slate: “The Confession,” an action thriller in five- to seven-minute episodes that stars former “24″ star Kiefer Sutherland. It is scheduled to premiere March 28.

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