Entertainment behind the scenes
Video streaming Web site Hulu.com marked its one-year anniversary on Thursday by announcing new social networking features, as the site seeks to gain ground on other Internet entertainment hubs.
The Web site, a joint venture between General Electric Co.-owned NBC Universal and News Corp., launched “Hulu Friends” which integrates functions from social networking sites MySpace and Facebook, as well as e-mail providers Gmail, Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail, and allows users to see what their friends are watching, share new videos and leave notes for each other.
Hulu, which allows visitors to view television episodes and movies on their home computers, still has a long way to go if it hopes to catch up to video sharing giant YouTube.com. Internet tracking site comScore reported this month that YouTube accounted for about 43 percent of all videos viewed over the Internet in January. By comparison, Hulu.com had only a 1.7 percent share of all videos viewed. The Google-owned YouTube has reached out to mainstream entertainment companies, including Universal Music Group, as the site seeks to add more premium entertainment on its site. But unlike YouTube, which mostly has short video clips, Hulu allows users to view entire episodes, and it has positive trends in its favor.
Research firm Knowledge Networks reported in February that use of third-party video hosting sites such as Hulu to access network television shows doubled since 2007 among Internet video users age 13-54.
Years ago at the Sundance Film Festival, Yahoo! sponsored a small cafe where festivalgoers could drop in — if they were on the list — and grab a quick bite to eat. But over time, it seems Yahoo’s fame and fortune as an Internet portal have receded, and in it’s place popped up social networking site MySpace. And in recent years, MySpace has sponsored the cafe at Sundance.
Now, it seems that in its fifth year (2009) MySpace is facing the keen competitive threat of social networking site Facebook. So, when we sat down with MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe in the MySpace Cafe, we couldn’t help but note the irony. Could MySpace be “Yahoo II: The Sequel”? (We couldn’t resist the movie pun. It is Sundance, after all). DeWolfe laughed. He doesn’t see it that way at all and, in fact, he said the outlook for MySpace appears bright.