Happy Birthday Hulu

Online video site turns one, shares clips from over 130 sources


Well, happy first birthday Hulu

Critics said the online media partnership between NBC Universal and News Corp would be an ugly baby. My how you've grown.

Even the nastiest nattering nabobs of negativism have been forced to admit Hulu has found a niche for you  -- right in front of your computer screen.

Sure, anyone can find the infamous grape stomp video on YouTube, but who wouldn't want to see Stewie re-enact the whole thing while watching an entire episode of Family Guy online?  (It's about 11:30 into the episode.)

That's what Hulu lets you do.  The site has more than 40,000 videos on site from over 130 companies like Warner Brothers MGM and the site even has some shows featured on Comedy Central.  (No, you can't see anything from NBCChicago.com on it yet, but NBC Universal, which is the parent company of NBCChicago.com, co-owns the site.)

The online video Mecca boasted more than 300 million page views during February 2009 and since its birth it has become the second most popular video Web site online, according to PC World.

The site has made a big impact with television viewers as it lets users view anything from full episodes of their favorite NBC and Fox shows to random clips and trailers for upcoming movies. 

Hulu itself is somewhat of a cross between a television show Web site and a professional grade YouTube.  The site even offers some alternatives to YouTube, the longstanding champion of Internet video sites.

Hulu still trails YouTube in page views as of February 2009, according to PC World.  Hulu, however, is able to offer certain perks YouTube can't, such as higher quality videos and clips that won't be taken down due to copyright infringement issues.

Hulu's videos also won't send you to random videos you won't want to see, like a Rick Astley music video.  Sure, everyone loved the phenomenon of Rick Rolling, but when Hulu says it's going to show you a clip of an old school Celebrity Jeopardy bit from Saturday Night Live, you can be sure that's what you’re going to see.

As for new plans for its future, the site recently unveiled a social networking tool named Hulu Friends.  The new feature will let users link up with other friends, forward video clips along and allow friends to see what videos other friends have been watching, according to Hulu's About Us Web page.

If its first year online has shown anything, it's likely whatever Hulu decides to do next viewers and media industry insiders alike will be watching what it has to say, especially after Alec Baldwin's Hulu commercial.

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