BusinessOfVideo.com apparently confirmed with a couple Hulu content partners that the service will soon be available on the streamer. Of course you should probably file this in your Unfounded Internet Rumors folder, bow it raises a couple of questions if it’s true. And boy do I hope it’s true.
First, will there be a cost?
A fair share of the Roku channels carry some sort of cost. It might be pay-per-view or even a monthly/yearly sub. That’s fine for some content, but Roku could officially hit the big time if they can convince NBC/News Corp/ABC to give them access to the free Hulu content as well as offering a Hulu Plus plan.
However, just mentioning Hulu’s owner’s names makes the whole thing seem unlikely. NBC recently stated that their content will not be available on iTunes for $.99 per episode because it will devalue it. Serving up even a bit of it for free on the Apple TV’s direct competitor seems unlikely.
Second, is it an exclusive deal?
Right now there are about a zillion and a half media streamers on the market. There’s the Roku, WD TV, Seagate’s offerings, the Apple TV, and countless others. Then there’s the Boxee Box coming in November. If Hulu’s goal is to stream content directly to TVs, it then makes sense to roll the platform out to as many devices as possible in order to milk the advertising dollars. There simply is no way that Roku could offer any incentive to off-set this for lucrative venture Hulu’s owners.
The end goal here is to make money. That’s it. Advertising is big money and that’s clear on Hulu.com. There’s commercials before and during most videos. Those spots gain value as the amount of viewers increase and getting Hulu on set-top boxes would surely do wonders for this stat.
Perhaps, if this rumor is true, Roku will have exclusive access to Hulu for a set amount of time — perhaps a few months. Besides, Roku would have a bit of a head start over other companies so there would be a bit of perceived exclusivity. Eventually, though, it only makes sense that Hulu will start hit devices like Netflix did last year. It’s a win-win for both the device manufacturer and Hulu themselves.
We reached out to Roku who quickly responded with the standard “No comment from Roku” statement. Still, don’t let hope die on this one. It just feels right, doesn’t it?