The Silicon Alley Insider reported late today — in the headline “Confirmed! Warner Bros. TV in on Hulu.com — that, well, the Warner Bros. Television Group will be providing content for the NBC-Fox joint venture Hulu.
But then SAI, and others, soft-pedaled the details. “It looks like … “
It doesn’t really matter now. This deal has been rumored for months (Valleywag), and Warner Bros. TV President Bruce Rosenblum last week said the Hulu deal was “imminent,” according to Communications Daily. Also, Warner Bros., half owner of The CW with CBS, already makes its vast TV library available to AOL’s In2TV.
So the imminent deal means that there will be Warner content — like the CW show “Pussycat Dolls” and Warner-produced “ER” — coming to Hulu, making the online video service an even better place to catch up on TV shows from a variety of networks.
Hulu, still in private beta, is expected to launch publicly sometime in March (TechCrunch) and is doing much better than NBC’s other online video property, NBC Direct, which has not set a date to emerge from beta (paidContent). NBC Direct is limited as it’s only available on Windows PCs, with support for Apple and Linux promised.
Liz Gannes at NewTeeVee makes a great observation about the recent comments from Rosenblum, who told Stanford law students that a “complete disaggregation of the network” is in the works. As Gannes summarizes, Rosenblum envisions a future in which the studios bring their products directly to consumer doors, or in this case to Hulu.
I agree that “at least one part of his vision” is still “too old school,” as Gannes writes. The networks will become less relevant due to new distribution methods opened up by the Internet, but that doesn’t mean that TV viewers will still go to traditional networks for content, either over-the-air on on the Web.
New “networks” will emerge separate from the traditional ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, et al, properties. Networks like MySpace TV, Facebook TV, or a hybrid like Hulu.