It continues to amaze me and many others how online television and video offerings are being compartmentalized by territory, when the Internet is a truly global playground. An International Hulu shouldn’t actually be necessary but unfortunately it is. But at least it’s on its way, which is better than nothing.
Hulu has reportedly had plans to roll-out internationally for a while. In March, the company hired a senior vice president of international operations whose role was described as being “responsible for leading Hulu’s expansion efforts outside the United States.” Then in May, these plans to expand outside of the U.S. borders were revealed.
There were newspaper reports at the time stating that Hulu was in negotiations with several large British broadcasters, including ITV and Channel 4. The plan was to make the UK the first port of call in an international roll-out of Hulu. Each country would get a localized service, with some American shows available alongside shows from that territory.
Hulu Confirms Plans
Now, The Telegraph has revisited the story after Hulu made its plans for an international roll-out clearer. Johannes Larcher, the SVP mentioned earlier, spoke this week at the Future of Broadcasting conference in London. He confirmed the plans for a Hulu UK launch, but would not be drawn on possible content partners or when the service was likely to launch.
He also spoke about the possibility of offering high quality streaming video and stated that Hulu was willing to discuss its plans with British ISPs in order to make this a reality. Which is important because ISPs in the UK already aren’t happy with the amount of bandwidth taken up by the BBC iPlayer. A UK version of Hulu really would be the icing on the cake for them, especially is programs were offered in anything close to HD.
Johannes Larcher Speaks
“We are talking to everyone. The UK is our number one priority in terms of international expansion. We are very interested in the UK. We hope in the very near future we will have some plans to reveal for the UK. [The] UK is very ready for a product like Hulu.”
A Kangaroo-Sized Gap In The Market
Larcher also admitted the rather obvious assumption that Hulu was moving into the UK market to cash in on the collapse of Kangaroo, the joint online video project between the BBC, ITV, and Channel 4. Which makes the Competition Commission’s decision to forcibly kill off the project look even more ludicrous than it did already. Doing so has effectively left a gap in the market which an American company is going to exploit.
Hulu has been very successful in the States and will undoubtedly be just as successful in other territories. The UK is the obvious country to start this roll-out as the iPlayer has opened many people’s eyes to the world of premium online video catchup services. And of course the death of Project Kangaroo means there are broadcasters likely to be very willing to climb on board the Hulu Express.
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