Posted by Brian McCullough
If you’re like me, you wasted a good day of work when the new TheDailyShow.com website came out. I was looking up old Even Stephvans. You? Well, with the writer’s strike nigh, this might be the only way we’re going to see the Daily Show for a while. And I’ve got another tv-resource for you that will let you catch up on old shows via the internet. And I mean old, cause it has, oh, 30-odd years of full television episodes on it.
Let me see if I can sum up the story as quickly as possible. Remember how NBC used to sell their shows on Itunes? That was the move that single-handedly saved The Office from being canceled, you may remember. Well, NBC was not content to let Steve Jobs do all the hard work and they wanted to keep all the pennies for themselves.
So NBC Universal and News Corporation declared a joint venture. Everyone thought this would be a YouTube competitor, but now that NBC has dumped Itunes, it looks more like a platform to serve up their library of television episodes. So don’t think of YouTube with user-submitted video. Think more of a library of 30 years of NBC and Fox tv shows (SIMPSONS? Arrested Development? Keep your fingers crossed.) streamed in YouTube-like Flash for free, with a few commercial interruptions.
It’s a smart move. Talk about monetizing the long tail! It’s hard to imagine those old episodes of “Lou Grant” generating much cash right now, even with DVD sales. But now NBC can make a sheckle or three every dozen or so times someone decides to stream an old episode this year. Maybe the networks are finally “getting it”!
Well, not so fast. First, they gave the service the absurd name of Hulu.com. Yes, only a company with an extensive market research budget could come up with such a name. Second, they’re making you wait through a long private beta test. If you don’t already have a beta invite, you ain’t getting in. This is dumb. Private Beta’s work for small startups… it helps build mystique and attention. But c’mon you big multinational media companies! Just let us in if it’s so good. Thirdly, FOX doesn’t seem to be offering full episodes, only clips of episodes. Let’s hope this is a beta thing only, cause otherwise it’s VERY DUMB. And finally, NBC is going to rotate episodes of it’s currently running shows. So if you want to catch up on Scrubs, you can only go about 6 episodes back in this season before they sunset the current season’s episodes. I guess until the DVDs come out. Maybe they’re not “getting it” after all. That’s really, old school, broadcast schedule thinking!
BUT WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR MY TIME WASTING?
Ok. Yeah. I kind of got carried away instead of making a “long story short”.
Look, you can’t get into Hulu directly for the time being. But NBC partner AOL.com does have part of the beta test up NOW! You can start viewing here: http://video.aol.com/video-category/hulu/110500
In the end, all this means is you can watch entire great old episodes of the A-Team like this one until the cows come home, or your boss catches you!
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