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Hulu's Competitors: The Wild World of Web TV

Media giants and startups — not to mention pirates — are chasing an online-video audience of 158 million. Here's how key players connect to, and compete with, Hulu.

Partners

MYSPACE, YAHOO, AOL, MSN - Portals that distribute Hulu content on the Hulu player and share revenues.

 

Outliers

BOXEE - Assembles Web and users' digital content — but no longer Hulu streams — in one free application. A potential game changer.

Veoh - Streams mostly clips — with a few episodes from other sites, including Hulu — for free.

Frenemies

NEWS CORP. - Hulu parent also streams its shows on network sites, including fox.com and fxnetworks.com.

NBC - Hulu parent also streams its shows on network sites, including nbc.com and bravotv.com.

DISNEY/ABC - Newest Hulu parent also streams its shows on network sites, including abc.com and disneychannel.com.

COMCAST - A distribution partner for Hulu's shows from Fox and NBC. Its Fancast site has its own relationship with ABC, and exclusives from the Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, and the Food Network.

YOUTUBE - Clearinghouse for homemade videos has the most viewers (100 million — plus in July) and a growing appetite for TV, primarily clips, including some via Hulu. In the works: paid movies.

Competing Business Models

NETFLIX - Rents DVDs and streams video of recent TV episodes, as well as movies, to subscribers.

AMAZON - Sells DVDs and downloads of recent episodes. 

iTUNES - Sells downloads of recent TV episodes.

TV EVERYWHERE - Cable channels' experiments with streaming content to paid cable subscribers. Comcast is now running a test in 5,000 households that includes some HBO shows. Could become competitor or partner to Hulu.

Loner

TV.COM - Streams CBS shows and some clips from other networks, but emphasizes forums. Claims not to be competing with Hulu.

 

A version of this article appeared in the November 2009 issue of Fast Company magazine.