Hulu follows Netflix down original content path

Wed Aug 3, 2011 3:52pm EDT
 
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hulu, the popular TV show website, is trying its hand at commissioning its own shows at a time when its programing partners are starting to trim back the availability of content.

The online video site said on Wednesday it will be airing a six-episode half-hour documentary series called 'A Day in the Life' produced by filmmaker Morgan Spurlock this summer.

Spurlock, best known for his food industry documentary 'Super Size Me' centers the series around a complete day in the lives of well known people including entrepreneur Richard Branson.

The announcement comes just months after leading online video service Netflix Inc commissioned a 26-part TV series called "House of Cards" staring Kevin Spacey.

TV companies and studios have started to worry they will harm their lucrative multibillion dollar programing relationship with cable and satellite companies if newer popular shows are available for free or cheaply on video sites like Hulu and Netflix.

Last month, News Corp's Fox Television said that from August 15 only online viewers who have been verified as pay-TV subscribers will be able to view Fox shows like "Glee" and "Bones" for eight days after the shows first air on TV.

Hulu, Fox.com and Dishonline.com will be among the first to participate but the Fox initiative will likely mean some Hulu users, who are used to watching shows the day after they air on TV, will now have to wait longer to view the latest shows. Hulu insiders expect other programmers to experiment with different models of making content available on its free website.

Hulu's relationship with programmers is unique as it is owned by its primary programmers including News Corp, Walt Disney Co, Comcast Corp's NBC Universal and Providence Equity Partners.

The relationships may become further complicated because Hulu is currently up for sale with companies including Yahoo Inc and Google Inc reported to be interested.   Continued...