Hulu Getting Stingy with Sharing Content

    March 18, 2009
    Chris Crum

Update 4: The Hulu/Boxee saga continues. Since the last update, Boxee has started a Twitter account dedicated to letting users know the status of Hulu on Boxee:

Is Hulu on Boxee - Twitter Account

NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker also said today, "What we’ve lost in viewers and advertising dollars on the analog side isn’t being made up for at all on the digital side. We want to find an economic model that makes sense." (Via SIA)

Update 3:
In something of a tug of war, Hulu blocked Boxee from accessing its feeds after Boxee used them as a workaround to provide access to Hulu’s content.

TechDirt reports: "By Friday evening, Hulu had a technical block in place. Of course, it didn’t take long for Boxee to figure out a workaround to that block, and supposedly (at the time I’m writing this) the service is back — though, Boxee has now added a little indicator to its software to let you know whether Hulu is accessible or not…"

Update 2: Boxee has released a new version of its video player. Wired reports: "the latest version of Boxee (which is a "bleeding edge release", and potentially unstable) features an RSS reader optimized for video." Hulu offers content through feeds.

Update:  WSJ reports: A statement from CBS says:

“CBS Interactive is well within its rights to stream Hulu video content on under its agreement with Hulu. We are evaluating our next steps at this time,” read a statement released by the company. More here.

Original Article: Over the past year, FOX/NBC property Hulu has shown a tremendous amount of promise as an up and coming destination for watching hours of online video entertainment. It has now decided to take its content away from some other places though.

Is this the right move?

Hulu has ordered its content removed from both CBS-owned and Boxee – both big draws to online video connoisseurs. In an age of increasing sharing and data portability, this seems like an odd move from Hulu who is still trying to build it’s brand recognition (it got a great start on that with its Super Bowl spot).

Hulu Brand Awareness Spikes with Super Bowl Ad

Interestingly enough, Hulu still seems happy to share its content through embedding:

Embedding on Hulu

Perplexed? Hulu’s CEO Jason Kilar offers a tonally heartfelt, if apologetic explanation about the fact that it is removing content from Boxee ( is not addressed):

Our content providers requested that we turn off access to our content via the Boxee product, and we are respecting their wishes. While we stubbornly believe in this brave new world of media convergence — bumps and all — we are also steadfast in our belief that the best way to achieve our ambitious, never-ending mission of making media easier for users is to work hand in hand with content owners. Without their content, none of what Hulu does would be possible, including providing you content via and our many distribution partner websites.

Meanwhile, Hulu doesn’t seem to mind including CBS shows in its own search results:

Hulu CSI

A post from Boxee fittingly embeds a Hulu ad and talks about complying with Hulu’s request for removal. Boxee is still going to try to get Hulu’s content providers on board though: "We will tell them how users love Hulu on boxee, why it represents a great opportunity for them to better engage with fans of their shows, how boxee can help in exposing their content to new people, and why they should be excited about future opportunities of working with us."

Will Boxee be able to convince Hulu’s partners? Will we begin to see Hulu content in even less places? Will embedding be the next to go? There seem to be more questions than answers.