There is happiness and rejoicing throughout the land. All the 20-somethings can now get their daily dose of news presented with a spoonful of sugar, for free, now that Viacom and Hulu have made peace. “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” is one of several Comedy Central shows that are back on Hulu with complete episodes. “The Colbert Report” is also on Hulu. And if you pony up for the Hulu Plus subscription, you’ll also get access to other shows 21 days after they air along with access to more than 2,000 episodes from various shows in Viacom’s library. Do you feel the need to catch up on “Beavis & Butthead”, or maybe demonstrate to your kids why you thought it was so great when you first watched it 18 years ago? (Just kidding.)
This is great news, and not just because I hate navigating the Comedy Central site trying to find the Daily Show episodes. (I keep getting led astray by the clips.) Having new episodes just show up in my Hulu queue is so much easier. But there’s more to this than just my convenience. This is good news for Hulu at a time that it desperately needs some. Netflix is flashing huge rolls of cash to the content providers, and getting lots of the “catch-up” content for TV episodes that was supposed to be Hulu’s home turf. The whole Comcast/NBC Universal deal calls into question whether or not Hulu’s network backers have the heart to stick with the project.
So landing a deal with Viacom could be an important victory for the company. It’s survival is not assured, but this has to help.