Initially, I was a bit concerned that this could be merely a hoax, as no press releases were sent out by NBC or News Corp. themselves. However, after speaking with the Hulu representative, Christina Lee, and seeing the news spread across the circuit like vine, it does appear as though this announcement is authentic.
The Hulu website, shown above, simply solicits email addresses for a private beta to be launched in October. There is also an open letter from CEO Jason Kilar explaining the choice of “hulu” as a name: “Objectively, Hulu is short, easy to spell, easy to pronounce, and rhymes with itself. Subjectively, Hulu strikes us as an inherently fun name, one that captures the spirit of the service we’re building.”
Jason goes on to explain that the private beta will initially involve only a small number of people but will grow with time. Distribution partner sites will include AOL, Comcast, MSN, MySpace, and Yahoo.
With Hulu, NBC and News Corp. now have two placeholder video websites intended to eventually challenge YouTube, the other being Didja, a website for entertaining commercials.
Our previous coverage of Clown Co., er Hulu, can be found below:
Update: Hulu is set to launch in the Fall around October and will focus on professional content and not take on YouTube directly as a viral video destination. The site remains solely an enterprise of the Fox/NBC joint venture, which raised over $100 million in financing from Providence Equity Partners. Videos will be played in their own embeddable branded player.