Hulu Are You?

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The Guardian has an article today about the possibility of US online catchup service Hulu arriving in the UK. Hulu aggregates content from NBC, ABC and Fox, but in entering the UK market would need to negotiate through the minefield of various broadcast rights.

One of the ironies of their precious copyright laws, and their silly habit of dividing the world up into different territories (even though, clearly, the internet is border-agnostic), is that they’ve created themselves a ridiculously tangled web of who-owns-what and who-has-the-right to broadcast which show at which time and how often.

It was complicated enough when Five tried to launch Five US, discovering that it didn’t own the repeat rights it thought it did.

The British government have further muddied the waters by refusing to allow the BBC, which we pay for, to co-operate with ITV and Channel 4 in launching a combined on-demand download service. It would have been so convenient for British consumers, of course, but too convenient apparently.

Capitalism demands that things get extra-complex (and thus more expensive and wasteful).

Project Kangaroo Stymied commercial broadband catchup service involving BBC Worldwide, ITV, C4. Named to symbolise a great digital leap forward.

Project Canvas Next-generation Freeview box to allow broadband catchup services on TV sets. Blank canvas on which to build.

Project Marquee BBC offer to share iPlayer technology. Internal working name for what is hoped will be a big tent of broadcasters.

Hulu US ad-funded broadband catchup service. Means “a gourd” in Mandarin, and the firm says it has meant “a holder of precious things”.

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