Hulu : Television and Movies Online, Free and Legal

Hulu is a site designed to bring professional TV and movie content to the web in a legal, ad-supported format. It’s a joint venture of NBC and the News Corporation, with partnerships with many content providers and web services for syndication.

They’ve been in private Beta for months and just officially launched a few weeks ago, and they’ve been getting a lot of attention. The content is still limited (we’re not talking NetFlix here) but there’s an interesting assortment full-length content here, old and new — the entire run of “Arrested Development,” 48 episodes of the old Bob Newhart show, 78 episodes of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” and other old shows like “Barney Miller,” “Hill Street Blues” and “The Practice.” There are lots of current shows here, too, with several full episodes and lots of clips.

The assortment of free movies is still very limited and not exactly the A list, but there are some real movies here, including “October Sky,” “Moonstruck” and “Some Like It Hot.” There are also lots of movie trailers and clips.

In addition to the effect this may have on library collections (DVDs and downloadables), it’s worth studying this site as an example of evolving web design concepts. It’s a very clean, almost sparse design, utilitarian compared to something like Amazon or the TV network sites. You can rate and comment on shows, and everything is shareable — a very important Web 2.0 concept. It’s done here very well — not only can you embed a full video on a web page or blog, you can even adjust the start and end points, making it easy to use custom clips in presentations, blogs and fan sites.

Links

  • Hulu.com
  • How Hulu’s Design Gets It Right — “Hulu, a major coup for Hollywood’s Web aspirations, is the latest offering successfully designed for the elusive Gen-Y youth market”
    Article by Matt Vella, Business Week, March 14, 2008

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