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Hulu's ad revenues to catch up to YouTube's?

Analyst forecasts that the NBC- and Fox-backed video site will rival that of Google's video-sharing site next year. Despite Hulu's smaller audience, is it more attractive to advertisers?

It has always been in the back of many minds that having many not quite legal and not quite professional videos on your site might just affect advertising revenue.

Now Arash Amel, an analyst at Screen Digest, a company that researches digital media, is forecasting that Hulu's U.S. revenue will rival that of YouTube next year, his estimated number being $180 million. (Hulu, backed by NBC and Fox, hasn't even gotten around to launching in the rest of the world yet.)

Mr. Amal makes YouTube's earnings sound like profit of doom: "YouTube is in a very tough place right now," he told the Financial Times. "Most of that user-generated content is worthless or illegal. The next 18 months will determine whether or not it was just an expensive mistake for Google."

Google? Google? Are you scared of us yet? CC Lisa Williams

Some in the advertising business have always been reticent about YouTube's rather messy atmosphere, when compared to Hulu's more focused upper-middle-class professionalism.

One client once put it to me in very blunt terms: "Why should I put my ad next to a video of some idiot screaming that Britney should be left alone?"

It will surely be interesting to see whether the mere presence of many people floating through your site on a daily basis (YouTube claims 83 million unique U.S. viewers to Hulu's 6 million) will ever be enough to attract not merely the right kinds of advertisers (yes, the ones who still have money) but also a method of advertising that actually makes online hoards pay attention.

YouTube has been frantically trying to find "new" ways to encourage advertisers, yet it seems to be reverting to some very old ways indeed.

So next year could see some considerable cheer for advertisers wanting not to be entirely dependent on Momma Google.

Oh, and good morning, Facebook. How's the growth strategy working for you?