YouTube vs. Hulu: Fight!

YouTube on Thursday took aim at its biggest competitor, Hulu, announcing it would begin offering movies, TV shows and content from studios such as Crackle/Sony Pictures, CBS, MGM, Lionsgate, Starz, the BBC, Anime Network, Cinetic Rights Management, Current TV, Discovery, Documentary Channel, First Look Studios, IndieFlix, National Geographic and more.

YouTube dominates online video viewing, but Hulu, while seeing far less visitors, is doing much better at monetizing its content (why not, it has the alien version of Alec Baldwin, after all?).

YouTube's masthead will include a Shows tab, to get to the premium content (above). If you're logged in it will also have a Subscriptions tab, for quicker access to your subscriptions.

Right now, while the site has already added a ton of content, it's mostly old TV shows, hardly a threat to Hulu. But unless studio negotiations grind to a complete halt, you'd expect that to change in the near future.

They do have a nice array of older animation and anime, at least.

At the same time YouTube announced Google TV Ads Online. It's exactly what it sounds like: ads that can be inserted in the commercial breaks of TV shows, or pre- or post-roll.
We're excited to announce the beta launch of Google TV Ads Online. This is a new feature of Google TV Ads that lets advertisers place commercials into the ad breaks of TV programs watched online. It works in the same way as Google TV Ads: advertisers can target specific programs and select their cost-per-thousand (CPM) bid. Based on their targets, budget and bid, ads are inserted in the same program breaks that were designed for advertising when the programs first aired. (Ads may also be shown "pre-roll", before the program begins, or after the online presentation of the program "post-roll.")
You didn't expect an absence of ads, now did you?

But Hulu isn't standing still: according to the WSJ, Hulu is trying to seal a deal with ABC that will acquire rights to ABC's shows for a 10% to 30% stake in Hulu (launched last year, Hulu is jointly owned by NBC Universal and News Corp.).

Now that would be a big win for Hulu, as ABC has kept its online content on right now. The WSJ reports that YouTube is apparently trying to squelch the deal, but that the odds are against that happening.

YouTube was acquired by Google for $1.65 billion in 2006; Credit Suisse analyst Spence Wang said in a recent note to investors that he predicted that YouTube will lose $470 million in 2009.
Tags:  Sony, Hulu, YouTube, NBC