Hulu Has a Stupid Name

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But the site is pretty slick. I just poked my head into the beta for Hulu, the big corporate-type video site that will carry content from NBC and Fox. It is in fact, as advertised, crawling with clips and full episodes from 30 Rock, SNL, the Simpsons, etc. And Hulu has absorbed the First Lesson of YouTube, which is: allow embedding, or you will die.

Playback was a bit stuttery, but I blame my overtaxed corporate network. The ads are quite jarring, though — they’re inserted more or less arbitrarily, not at the commercial breaks around which the show in question was originally written. And there’s none of the cozy fuzzy user-created stuff around the edges — no tagging, no comments. But, you know, it’s The Simpsons. I think I learned something today: that I am a whore for video content, and I have no loyalty to any particular site or brand.

It does seem sort of lame that all this video content is in different places, in different mini-networks. I still don’t see what the networks gain with Hulu that’s so important that they had to split from YouTube, with its massive pre-grown community (and NBC pulled its content from iTunes, too). I remember an anecdote about the early days of phone service in an African country, the name of which I’m forgetting. There were different competing phone companies, each with its own network of phone lines, so you’d have to keep, like, eight phones on your desk, and use the right one depending on which network the person you were calling was on. That couldn’t last, of course. Can this?