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NBC and Hulu: The match made in flops

NBC thinks it's on to something with Hulu, but CNET Blog Network contributor Don Reisinger has news for it--Hulu will be a major failure.

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Correction: This blog initially misstated the day NBC announced it was pulling its content off YouTube. It was Monday.

Am I the only person who has lost every ounce of respect for NBC? First, it tells the world that it will not renew its contract with Apple citing disputes over content pricing, and then it tells us all Monday that it has pulled all of its content off YouTube and will reserve it for Hulu when it finally goes live.

Nice one, NBC. Not only have you pulled your programming off the most popular video-sharing site on the Internet, you've decided to add it to a video site of your (and News Corp.'s) own that has no promise. Am I missing something here?

There is no chance Hulu will ever become a success. And the reason is quite simple: It is being produced by two companies that have no idea what consumers want and are utterly unaware of how the Internet works. Even worse, neither of those companies knows what Web 2.0 is all about.

I give Hulu one year.

For some odd reason, both NBC and News Corp. are under the impression that their television offerings go so above and beyond other online programming that we will all flock to Hulu for a glimpse at what we missed the night before. Suffice it to say, that won't happen.

If we take an objective look at NBC, one thing immediately smacks us in the face--after Seinfeld and Friends went off the air, the company was left with unadulterated crap. And if you've watched Saturday Night Live over the past few years, you know the meaning of that all too well.

YouTube was successful because its founder realized that what people want is the ability to share interesting and funny clips without the thumb of a television network telling them what, how and when to watch. And if you believe NBC will be hands-off with Hulu, you're kidding yourself.

This is exactly how it will work out: first, NBC and News Corp. will stand together in the beginning to discuss the future of programming and how the Internet is the next logical step for programming to take. Of course, in the back of their minds, company representatives will be calling the Internet a cauldron of the devil's own making, but that's neither here nor there.

Next, Hulu will make it publicly known that its programming is far better than any other service's and we should all flock to the site to watch yet another boring episode of New Amsterdam. And while this is going on, the company will find interesting ways to drop commercials and advertisements on you because, well, that's all NBC really knows.

Finally, after about six months, Hulu will jump the shark and all hell will break loose. Not only will there be commercials and advertisements everywhere, programming options will start to dwindle and getting through a show will be an arduous task.

Within one year, the site will go down like a ton of bricks--another victim of consumer unhappiness.

So why do I think this will happen? The answer is quite simple: NBC and News Corp. have a proven track record of doing the things we don't want them to do. Even worse, this is nothing more than a business ploy to put some pressure on Apple and YouTube and try to capitalize on all of that "unhealthy pirating" they despise so much.

If NBC has learned anything, it should know that trying to stop pirating only makes it worse. Does it honestly believe that people will flock to a locked-down system if they can download the program somewhere else and watch it on a television?

NBC and News Corp. are entirely off base on this one. In essence, both companies are setting themselves up for a horrific failure that will make them lose all comfort in doing business on the Internet.

Give it a year; all NBC programming will be back on iTunes and YouTube.