Will Hulu Replace Your TV?

Hulu.com, the online video site owned jointly by NBC Universal and News Corporation (Fox) launched earlier this year, currently streams numerous network and cable television programs (and a few movies too), including the majority of NBC’s and Fox’s Primetime lineups. Both Fox.com and NBC.com continue to stream most of their respective programming, either in the form of clips or full episodes, free of charge and with far fewer commercials than the televised broadcast. There are numerous third party video sites to view streaming television content, but viewers have traditionally gone to a network’s official website the most. Now that there is an alternative to the official site which is owned by two of the networks themselves, where are the viewers going to watch their shows online?

Here we look at the top five comedies for both Fox and NBC and observe the share of the total combined time spent viewing these episodes on their respective homepages and Hulu.com. For the top five comedies on Fox, viewers spend more than twice as much time watching on Hulu.com than they do on Fox.com. For the top NBC comedies, NBC.com barely edges out Hulu.com in total viewing time. This is only because The Office, which happens to be the most watched show (in total online viewing time) on either network, is watched primarily on NBC.com. When The Office is excluded, Hulu’s total time share of the remaining four NBC comedies jumps up to 60%.

Below we see the top five comedies for each network and quantified how much time was spent viewing that specific show on its network’s official website versus Hulu.com.

When observing the top five dramas on each of the two networks, a completely different picture is painted. The vast majority of the time spent viewing these programs online occurs on either Fox.com or NBC.com. Very little time is spent watching any of these programs on Hulu.com.

Hulu.com’s visitors seem to prefer watching comedic content rather than dramas. Recently, Hulu acquired the rights to stream full episodes of The Daily Show with John Stewart and The Colbert Report. Hulu is already a factor when it comes to streaming network comedies, so it will be interesting to see what impact adding these two shows will have.

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