All about money, money money.Why?
Unable to make the digital media dollars add up to their liking, Viacom will remove “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” “The Colbert Report” and other Comedy Central television shows from Hulu next week.
Although the companies said Tuesday evening that they were parting amicably, the decision represents the first major fracture between TV show owners and the wildly popular video Web site.
Viacom’s decision is a serious loss for Hulu — this week “The Daily Show” is listed as the third most-watched TV show on the site — and it is a reminder that content owners can control just how much video — or how little — is placed online for all to view. At the moment, that spigot is being tightened, in part to protect the industry’s primary revenue stream, cable and satellite distribution.
However, the severing of ties with Hulu does not represent a strategic shift for Viacom. Comedy Central will continue to stream full episodes of the shows on TheDailyShow.com and ColbertNation.com, respectively.
Viacom’s Comedy Central channel reached a programming agreement with Hulu in mid-2008 that placed “The Daily Show,” “The Colbert Report” and a sampling of other shows on the service.
“In the past 21 months, we’ve had very strong results for both Hulu and Comedy Central, in terms of the views and revenue we’ve generated,” said Andy Forssell, senior vice president of content and distribution for Hulu, in a blog post Tuesday evening.
Mr. Forssell said that Hulu’s viewers had been “extremely vocal and passionate” about “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report.”
In a message that seemed written specifically for Comedy Central, he said that Hulu had “driven steadily increasing revenue per view” for the shows “as advertisers voted with their budgets to take advantage of innovative ad formats and very strong advertising effectiveness.”
Statement by Comedy Central:
Comedy Central has made “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report” available to consumers through Hulu since June 2008. Although that agreement has concluded, full-length episodes of each show will remain available at TheDailyShow.com and ColbertNation.com, respectively.
Hulu was one of the many digital distribution partners we’ve worked with over the past few years to add new outlets for our valuable and powerful content and to help drive the businesses of our partners. We had a great experience with Hulu, and we hope to work with its team again in the future.