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CBS Gets Backdoor Into Hulu, Sort Of; Hulu Expands Distribution

This story was written by David Kaplan.
During the TV upfront period, which began last week, online publishers have to try a little harder to capture advertisers' attention. With that likely in mind, Hulu says it has expanded its distribution network to CNET's (NSDQ: CNET) video guide and viewing site (which eventually will be owned by CBS (NYSE: CBS) once the deal goes through). The announcement comes a few days after the CBS Audience Network updated its own site for advertisers and added some classic TV programs under its umbrella as well.

-- Hulu's new partners: In addition to putting its videos on, which is also a member of the CBS Audience Network, Hulu plans to add a few more sites to its syndication chain, including,,,, and sometime in the next few weeks. The News Corp./NBC Universal-owned video site also released a flurry of stats designed to demonstrate early progress:  Hulu's video streams have grown to more than 63 million, as viewers are watching more than two hours of Hulu content per month. Reuters points out that Hulu's April numbers now place at number two, according to Nielsen Online rankings, as viewers played 60.8 million videos and spent an average of 57.3 minutes on the Disney-owned site.

-- CBS Audience Net gets nostalgic: After a first addition of TV rerun stalwarts like MacGyver, Hawaii Five-O and Melrose Place, the CBS Audience Network has just added several primetime hits such as The Love Boat and Beverly Hills 90210, which should help fill out the network given the dearth of new TV shows coming this year. Secondly, advertisers are interested in how CBS will make further use of properties like CNET's video site, which also part of the of the CBS Audience Network. As for the new site it quietly unveiled to media buyers at last week's upfront presentation, a CBS rep told me that the purpose of the CBS Audience Network site is merely to serve as a marketing showcase for new partners and advertisers, and is not necessarily intended as a consumer site.

By David Kaplan