Comedy Central programs "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report" will no longer be available on Hulu, due to a dispute between the network and the streaming video site. The shows will be removed from the site starting at 11:59 p.m. PST on March 9.
"In the past 21 months, we've had very strong results for both Hulu and Comedy Central, in terms of views and revenue we've generated," Andy Forssell, Hulu's senior vice president of content and distribution, wrote in a March 2 posting on the site's official blog. "After a series of discussions with the team at Comedy Central, though, we ultimately were unable to secure the rights to extend these shows for a much longer period of time."
Forssell indicated that negotiations with Comedy Central would continue "about a number of opportunities," raising the possibility, however remote, that a compromise between the two entities could be found in time to prevent the shows from being yanked offline.
Hulu is owned by a partnership of News Corp., NBC Universal, Disney and Providence Equity Partners, with video on the site provided by three major networks and more than 150 other content providers. It has benefited from rising numbers of Americans watching streaming video online, but also faces fierce competition from Google's YouTube, which has been adding more professionally made content onto its site via deals with Sony, CBS and other companies.
A variety of enterprise companies have seen the benefits of online video as a marketing and promotional tool, leading IT firms such as Omniture to introduce solutions for either monitoring the viral spread of video clips across the Internet, or else incorporating streaming video into applications and software platforms.
Streaming video sites have also been increasingly seen as a way for companies like Microsoft to attract more users to their own offerings. In that spirit, Bing now offers a redesigned video page that integrates feeds from not only Hulu, but also MSN Video and NBC.