from our friend Michael Learnmonth at Advertising Age:
From that base of content, Hulu.com has become the fourth-biggest online video distributor by unique visitors in January, behind YouTube, Yahoo and MySpace, according to the latest from Nielsen VideoCensus. In total video streams, it’s No. 3, with 232 million, behind YouTube (5.8 billion) and Yahoo (277 million).
But the exclusive part of that NBC-News Corp. deal lasts only two years, and Hulu knows all too well that the scarcity that helped it establish an audience (and brand) is going away soon. Hulu has never said exactly when the deal expires, but it’s likely within a year after the first anniversary of Hulu’s public launch, in March.
Hulu has a huge head start — and even has a Super Bowl ad under its belt — but it’s about to get a lot more competition from portals such as Yahoo TV, which was the fastest-growing video site in January, but also from TV-centric sites such as, well, TV.com, which CBS acquired in the CNet deal last summer.
Since its relaunch last month, TV.com is growing fast. It’s the bigger site in terms of unique visitors, with 5.9 million compared with Hulu’s 4.5 million, according to Nielsen. And TV.com’s revamp has reversed a downward traffic trend, according to Compete. Read the rest on adage.com
Update: Semi-related? Did Hulu just pull the plug on its deal with TV.Com?
I know I just wrote this, which sort of of waves a dismissive hand at the revenue value of television viewing of shows via the Internet, but that was at the level of individual show episodes, which usually doesn’t scale well. But if you look at iTunes, Hulu, etc. as large networks for distributing a multitude of content, in the aggregate there is already quite a bit of scale, and potential for much more.