You’ve got less than a week to watch “The Daily Show,” “The Colbert Report” and other Comedy Central shows on Hulu before Viacom pulls them from the site.
Hulu announced that the popular news satire shows will be taken down on March 9 at 11:59 p.m., PST. Andy Forssell, Hulu’s vice president of content and distribution, said the site was unable to secure long-term rights to carry the shows. Viacom’s not giving up on the Web, though; you can still watch both shows online at TheDailyShow.com and ColbertNation.com.
Still, this is a big blow to Hulu. Forssell said people were regularly visiting the site to make Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert part of their day. The New York Times reported that this caused a “halo effect,” in which people would then go on to watch other shows.
Also, the amount of revenue per ad on these shows was increasing as advertisers experimented with new formats. I thought higher ad revenues would be crucial in convincing studios that the Web isn’t such a bad thing, but evidently the results were not to Viacom’s liking.
Hulu and Viacom are behaving amicably so far. Forssell hinted at a future partnership for Comedy Central content, and the channel said in a statement to the New York Times that “we hope to work with its team again in the future.” But it’s hard to see how this benefits fans of the show. The respective dedicated Web sites for these programs are messy, and a Web site dedicated to one show is less appealing than one that has a wide variety of content.
Mostly, though, I hope this isn’t a jump the shark moment for Hulu, which isn’t winning favor with the studios that control it — NBC, Fox and Disney — because it’s not profitable.