Hulu is a website devoted to on-demand TV show, movies, webisodes, trailers, and behind-the-scenes content from NBC, FOX, ABC, Obstacle, Nickelodeon, and CBS. Hulu is currently only offered for use in the United States, Japan, and their respective territories1. Hulu supports Flash Video format in multiple quality levels ranging from 280p to 720HD.

History and Origin

Hulu was founded by a joint venture of NBC Universal, Fox Entertainment Group, and Disney-ABC Television Group, with funding from Providence Equity Partners2. The website was announced in March of 2007 and was released in a private beta form in October of that same year3. On March 12, 2008 Hulu was launched for public access in the United States4.

The websites name is derived from two Mandarin Chinese words; traditional Chinese defines the word as "gourd", and simplified Chinese defines it as "interactive recording"5.

How it Works

Hulu works as a online, free, highly accessible, and legal form of entertainment. The files Hulu streams are encoded using the H.264 codec that is supported on Flash Player 10 and above (which is installed on more than 97% of computers in the U.S.). Hulu gets the majority of its revenue from advertisement sales. Hulu Plus however gains additional revenue from monthly membership fees. Ownership of Hulu is shared between NBC Universal, News Corporation, Disney, Providence Equity Partners, and the Hulu team.

As mentioned above, Hulu offers two services: Hulu and Hulu Plus. Hulu provides a free service while Hulu Plus charges a monthly fee of $7.99. Both offer very similar products: streaming of television shows, movies, trailers, etc. However, the main difference lies in the number of platforms that each service runs on. While Hulu generally runs only on personal computers, Hulu Plus can run on gaming consoles, set-top boxes, mobile phones, tablets, etc. Hulu Plus served as the first ad-supported subscription service to bring current TV programs from top broadcast networks like ABC, BET, Comedy Central, and FOX on an expanded variety of platforms.

Strengths and Challenges

The strengths of Hulu include that it serves as a legal, free and convenient way to access and utilize high quality video content, proving to be of much higher quality than most pirated content. It also is user friendly as it requires no time-consuming downloads. Hulu also maintains good relationships with its content partners.

Challenges that Hulu faces include a limited audience. Hulu is currently only available in the United States and Japan and their respective territories. The reason for this is due to the complex and time consuming process that is required in order to gain the rights to add entire shows. This lengthy process also means that the selection available on Hulu may not always be up to date.

Hulu's Future

In the future, Hulu hopes to expand its influence to a world-wide audience beyond the United States and Japan. Hulu also aims to improve the convenience of their services by expanding the platforms Hulu Plus can run on.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License