2. Huuuuuu....luuuuuuu??? Where Are You, Hulu?
Hulu doesn't seem to have gotten the memo on the whole Internet TV thing.
When Sony (SNE) announced its lineup of Google (GOOG - Get Report) TV products this week, Hulu was notably absent from the discussion in much the same way it's been absent from most platforms for some time now.
Though a long-rumored feature of Google TV, Hulu stood on the sidelines as NBC, Pandora, the NBA and primary rivals Amazon (AMZN) Video on Demand and Netflix (NFLX - Get Report) sidled up to the next big thing in Internet TV. When asked why the Hulu Plus subscription service was nowhere to be seen, even though Hulu partner NBC made the lineup, Hulu spokespeople responded "The Hulu and Google teams are currently in discussions to bring the Hulu Plus subscription service to Google TV enhanced environments."Given Hulu's track record, it should talk faster.
If Hulu is hoping that it's $9.99-a-month subscription service will help it fight off other video providers, the GE (GE - Get Report)/NBC, Disney (DIS)/ABC and News Corp. (NWS)/Fox joint venture should know it's already way behind on the cards. Hulu Plus is accessible on Samsung TV and Blu-ray players and will be available on certain Sony and Vizio products this fall. Netflix is also there. Hulu Plus just returned to Sony's PlayStation 3 after blacking out its service there last year and plans to jump on Microsoft's (MSFT) Xbox 360 next year. Netflix is already on both systems and the Nintendo Wii. Hulu says Hulu Plus service for Roku and TiVo devices is "coming soon." Netflix will eagerly await its arrival. Hulu's platform deficit is what makes the service's absence from Google TV particularly egregious. Google TV takes an enormous step toward full media integration -- which one assumes Hulu would embrace as a Web video provider. Still, Hulu never acts like a Web video provider but, rather, like an old, withered network exec clinging to his product with a bony, wrinkled, arthritically frozen hand. It clings to its ad-driven model even as it places a monthly subscription fee atop it. That approach assumes Hulu's content is so rare and inherently valuable that platform producers should kowtow to its demands. Hulu has a wealth of content and, to users who've taken advantage of the service to catch up on their favorite series, it's an asset. It is, however, one asset among many that such platforms as Google's TV and Android products, Apple's TV and iproducts and entire lines by Samsung, Panasonic and Philips can accommodate. While Hulu Plus operates under the old network premise that we'll provide it and you'll like it, device manufacturers are flipping the content equation on its head when it comes to Web video and spelling out the terms. TheStreet Says:Hulu's handlers just need to swallow their pride and realize one thing: Nobody ever got rich by doing nothing.