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When will we get a European Hulu?

By September 1, 2008 9 Comments

Some interesting stats on Techcrunch today about Hulu raise the obvious question of when we will get a site with a similarly broad range of professionally produced content here in Europe. I’m interested as a consumer, but also because the market for this is on a par with UGC video, and finally also because once people start watching TV through their PCs all sorts of new services become possible – mostly around sharing, search and discovery. This is what Finnish PVR in the cloud service TVKaista are finding.

From TC:

in May 2008, Hulu served about 88 million videos compared to YouTube’s 4.2 billion videos but it has the luxury of monetizing the vast majority of its videos instead of the three percent that YouTube can sell ads against. Three percent of 4.2 billion is 126 million videos a month that can carry ads, not much more than Hulu.

That pretty much levels the playing field in terms of revenue and profit potential. According to one estimate, Hulu could enjoy $90 million in revenue in its first year. And although it may not be quite as much as YouTube’s estimated worldwide revenue total of $200 million this year, it equals a Bear Stearns estimate for YouTube’s domestic 2008 revenue (of $90 million).

88 million videos is a good number. Enough to show unequivocally that people are ready to start watching TV via their PCs.

Here in the UK the major broadcasters have sites showing their own content, or at least some of it, with iPlayer from the BBC being the standout success so far, but to really unlock this market I think we need a place where people can go to search for all content, without needing to know which channel it was on. That could be via a thin access portal which links out to the underlying sites serving the content (still the most obvious model for me) or it could a single site which clears all the rights and serves all the content itself, or somewhere in between.

The long awaited project Kangaroo (rumoured to be considering a name change to the clever SeeSaw) might just give us what I am asking for here.