Viacom's departure from Hulu comes with a bite

Viacom content is leaving Hulu next week, though users will still be able to watch those shows over at ComedyCentral.com. What this really could end up hurting are bloggers and other people trying to share specific clips, which Hulu was able to do.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read

Hulu on Tuesday announced on its blog that partner Viacom would be pulling its content from the service, and noted that shows like "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" would only be available through the beginning of next week.

Though an inconvenience for Hulu users who had relied on the service's subscription tools and new episode notifications, Hulu noted that most of the content that's being pulled will still be available back on ComedyCentral.com.

But, as the Hollywood Reporter has discovered, it may not be such an easy transition for users and bloggers who have become accustomed to using Hulu as a way to source clips for context. The main reason for this revolves around Hulu's video-embedding technology, which allows users to pick specific parts of shows for sharing on the Web. By comparison, Comedy Central only makes available a few choice clips alongside full episodes.

This seemingly minor detail could lead to some blogs simply using show footage uploaded elsewhere, though bloggers should be wary of such practices. The Hollywood Reporter got in touch with a representative from Comedy Central, who said that the company would go on the legal offensive for any site or user who put up unauthorized clips that were not hosted by the company. Sure, it's been this way for years now (see the Viacom-YouTube lawsuit circa 2007), but since Hulu came out of private beta in March of 2008, it's made it much easier to find and share this content legally.

Below is an example of how the two embed interfaces compare:

The real rub of Viacom's departure from Hulu may end up being in the differences between the Hulu video player and what ComedyCentral.com is offering, since Hulu users are able to create their own custom clips. Screenshot by Josh Lowensohn/CNET