Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Hulu, you're doing it wrong

Dear Alec, Eliza, Seth, Dennis and everyone else at Hulu,

Hulu, you're now the third most popular video site on the Internet and for that I congratulate you. I have to admit that when I heard you were coming I had my doubts - a video site built by the networks? Ha! It would suck, to be certain. I was wrong. I'm sorry.

That being said, I think you haven't quite reached your potential.

Let me begin with the assumption that TV networks want us to watch their shows. They do this so they can sell advertising to put in their shows. The more people that watch, the more the networks can charge businesses to advertise.

So the networks want as many people to watch their shows as possible. Then why, Hulu, are only the last five episodes of current TV shows posted? As was recently the case with Chuck, I wanted everyone to start watching it so it wouldn't be canceled. "It's on Hulu," I'd say. But that wasn't enough.

Very few people are going to jump into a series half way through a season, let alone tune in to watch the season finale of a show they've never seen before. Why watch the most recent five episodes if you don't know what's happened in the previous 15 that lead to that point?

You need to have the entire season posted for, well, the entire season.

Sure, you can watch any episode of the Cosby Show or Night Court and be fine. You know, cheesy TV with a laugh track. Everything else needs background and context. And if it's available, more people will start watching your shows part way through the season and catch up.

Heck, leave them up for the summer when nothing else is on and maybe you'll recruit new fans for the new season in the Fall. Worried about cannibalizing DVD sales? Pull the season from Hulu as soon as the DVDs are out.

So there you have it Hulu. There's nothing to lose by posting entire seasons and quite  bit to gain. So, yeah. Get on that, will you?

P.S. "An evil plot to take over the world. Enjoy." - One of the best taglines I've heard in a while.

Note: I do realize it's probably the networks who are the ones who are holding back, but Hulu's the frontman for everything so I directed my comments at them.