According to a report by comScore, the Internet video site Hulu saw a 42% increase in viewership in February, serving up about 330 million videos. This was enough to push the service up to fourth place overall among Internet Video sites. (Google with its YouTube remains solidly in the top spot with more than 5.3 billion videos served up in February.) Hulu had nearly 35 million viewers for the month.
One interesting comparison between YouTube and Hulu is that Hulu appears to have a solid financial model, relying on commercials embedded in its videos for revenues. With full-length episodes of current hit broadcast TV shows — including the new Southland series — Hulu delivers a lot of content that people want to watch. And if you have high-speed broadband, you can watch in full screen high-definition.
For example, there was a show last fall that conflicted with another of our favorites, so we decided not to record it on our DVR. Instead, I figured I could catch up by watching the episodes on Hulu. (Okay, if you must know, it’s the Fox show “Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles“.) Now that most of our favorites are in reruns, I’m using a computer connected to our big screen to watch the shows. I’ve got a high-speed broadband Internet service, but I still get frames dropping occasionally which makes some scenes a little jerky, but in general, it’s very watchable and much better than a snowy analog broadcast or noisy VCR recording. There are some very short commercials sprinkled throughout the show, but far fewer than you’d see on a broadcast version of the show. The only adjustment you have to make is to turn off any power saving features that would turn off the display when the computer is idle. With this arrangement, there’s always something good to watch.
I can see why Hulu is a hit, and this only strengthens my confidence that the Internet will ultimately be the delivery method for broadcast television and movies. If you haven’t tried the Internet on your main television, I encourage you to give it a try. If you have any questions about how to do it, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll try to help.