Don't touch that keyboard. Hulu has channeled a seemingly endless trove of TV shows through a Web site more than worthy of broadcast-quality content. A fast, easy-to-use video player. DVR-like controls. A comprehensive search engine for finding specific actors or shows. No wonder Hulu has topped 43 million monthly viewers, streamed more than 6.7 billion videos since its 2008 launch, and become the most popular destination for premium video on the Web. Its desktop application, released last year, raised the bar for laptop viewing, with remote control functionality. The next test? Adding pay services to what has been a free site.
Courtesy of Hulu
Here's how the plotlines of Hulu and Hollywood's other high-profile disruptor, Netflix  (#12), are converging:
Hulu Topped 43 million monthly viewers. Has streamed 6.7 billion videos since 2008 site launch.
Netflix Topped 11 million subscribers. Has delivered 2.5 billion DVDs, Blu-ray discs, and video streams since 1999 launch.
Hulu CEO Jason Kilar , 38, a Harvard MBA and Amazon vet. Quirk: monitors Hulu feedback 20-plus times a day on Twitter.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings , 49, who earned a master's in computer science from Stanford. Quirk: doesn't have an office.
NEW CAST MEMBER
Hulu ABC, which joined the NBC-Fox joint venture, adding episodes of shows such as Lost .
Netflix ABC, which lets Netflix's streaming service deliver previous seasons of shows such as, well, Lost .
Hulu Boxee , which streamed Hulu content directly to TVs until Hulu's parent companies objected.
Netflix Redbox , which offers same-day DVD rentals for $1 at 19,000 locations.
Hulu YouTube, which now shows clips of current ABC shows and episodes of TV classics.
Netflix YouTube, which struck a deal with Lionsgate and others to stream some of their movies for free. Also testing rentals with Sundance.
Hulu Launches Hulu Desktop  -- think TiVo with endless memory -- to simulate the TV experience on a computer, including remote control.
Hulu Developing a Web-only reality series with American Idol creator Simon Fuller.
Netflix Crowns winner of Netflix Prize, a $1 million award for improving its recommendation engine.
Hulu Next Issue Media is the "Hulu for magazines"; Epix is the "Hulu of movies"; Vevo  is the "Hulu of music."
Netflix Rent the Runway  is the "Netflix of high fashion"; DeepDyve is the "Netflix of scientific and technical journals."
TRICKY PLOT TURN
Hulu Can Hulu increase revenue (estimated at $140 million in 2009) and keep impatient parent companies at bay?
Netflix Can Netflix procure newer titles such as The Blind Side for streaming to match its DVD library, without getting gouged by rights fees?
Hulu Nagging rumor: no more freebies. It'll become a pay-only site.
Netflix Nagging rumor: Amazon  will buy it.
Hulu What will Comcast do with Hulu after acquiring NBC Universal? More ads? A pay tier? Fold it into Fancast Xfinity TV?
Netflix What happens if partners like Xbox strike content deals directly with studios, cutting out Netflix?
Los Angeles, CA
| NUMBER OF
total revenues for most recent fiscal year
$140 Million [est.]
what the company is most famous for
Being the online destination for TV shows --more than 800 series -- from Bewitched to the latest 30 Rock.
why it's innovative
In a medium conducive to short-attention spans, Hulu reinvented the online viewing experience for long-form content with a TV-like, feature-rich video player.
Can Hulu Save Traditional TV?