With Hulu.com still in the opening days of its test launch, only select users with an invitation can watch ad-supported video content at the site. Others, however, are getting ad-free access to it elsewhere.
Hulu, formed through a partnership between
-owned NBC Universal and Rupert Murdoch's media empire,
went live with its beta test on Monday. It offers free viewing, with advertising, of full-length films and TV shows from the media giants, and has been billed as a rival to
popular YouTube video site.
Meanwhile, Hulu video clips were available on Thursday on
Premity.com, the Web site of a start-up company based in Ventura, Calif., that sells software to facilitate online coupon campaigns.
Anyone can log on to Premity and watch random clips of popular NBC shows, such as
Saturday Night Live
, as well as Fox shows, such as
-- all without ads.
"That Hulu stuff doesn't really have anything to do with our business," says Jeremy Oswald, an owner of Premity. "It's just something we were playing around with. It's an interface that my business partner built to be able to watch the different clips and show them randomly."
Four days into Hulu's launch, the ease with which its content is showing up elsewhere on the Web with no advertising raises questions about the site's prospects for success. Such clips could find their way to YouTube and other sites that already boast massive audiences -- the problem that NBC and Fox hoped to avoid with Hulu.
Another New York media giant,
, has filed a $1 billion lawsuit against YouTube that alleges copyright infringement of clips from hit shows such as Comedy Central's
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
The Colbert Report
. Those shows are available on its site, Motherload, which is said to be a precursor to Hulu.
A spokeswoman for Hulu could not be reached for comment.