Online tv/film site Hulu launched a year ago today, and boy did we have to eat crow.
We provided nearly constant criticism of the site since it was announced in March 2007 (no name, billion dollar valuation, name translation issues, trademark absurdity, etc.). But despite a slightly bumpy launch, we had to admit that they did an outstanding job. And today I can safely say I spend more time watching Hulu than I do my standard home cable connection.
The site continues to grow rapidly. In August they had over 100 million video streams. Last month, according to Nielsen, they streamed 142 million videos, a 42% month over month increase. 72,000 reviews and 14,000 forum posts have been left of the site, and the company says they’ve received 50,000 feedback emails.
The site now has 110 content providers (including NBC Universal, FOX, Sony Pictures Television, MGM Studios, Comedy Central, Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures, PBS, FX, Sundance Channel and the Sci Fi Channel), up from 40 at launch. TV titles have increased from 90 to more than 1,000. And there are now 400 movies on Hulu – there were just 10 a year ago.
Hulu also has 30 distribution partners taking their video content, including MSN, Yahoo, AOL, MySpace, Facebook, Slide, MyYearbook, IMDb, TV.com and TVGuide.
Hulu also says they’ve been mentioned in 25,000 blog posts and 4,000 other articles, and have been tweeted 40,000 times since April.
In other words, I was wrong. Hulu rocks. Despite ridiculous odds, the company was able to pull off a joint venture between two humongous parent media companies and provide users with a compelling, sexy product. The only thing I can really criticize is the continued lack of international availability, which is a licensing issue beyond their control.
Happy birthday, Hulu. Please add HBO soon.