No apologies or explanations to users for removing Hulu content from TV.com but Hulu CEO Jason Kilar wants Boxee users to know that they'll be losing access this week at the specific request of content providers. In his company blog post today titled Doing Hard Things, Kilar explains: "Our content providers requested that we turn off access to our content via the Boxee product, and we are respecting their wishes. While we stubbornly believe in this brave new world of media convergence bumps and all we are also steadfast in our belief that the best way to achieve our ambitious, never-ending mission of making media easier for users is to work hand in hand with content owners. Without their content, none of what Hulu does would be possible, including providing you content via Hulu.com and our many distribution partner websites." Hulu is owned by content providers NBC Universal (NYSE: GE) and News Corp. (NYSE: NWS), along with investor Providence Equity Partners.
Just before I read his post, I was talking to someone who's done business with Hulu and is frustrated by, among other things, the decision to yank videos from TV.comand thus make it harder for consumers. Kilar is a good guy who surely must seen the irony here: users getting video through a cool company that never had a deal with Hulu are told "we take very seriously our role of representing users such that we are able to provide more and more content in more and more ways over time," while users of a site that had a deal are getting black video player windows and an impersonal statement about "contractual rights."
Boxee's response: (via NYT's Bits) The move comes after two weeks of intense effort to keep the content from being pulled, Boxee CEO Avner Ronen wrote on his company's blog complete with an embedded version of the Hulu Super Bowl ad featuring Alec Baldwin. He said Boxee will be removing the content on Friday "in good faith ... our goal has always been to drive users to legal sources of content that are publicly available on the Internet. we have many content partners who are generating revenue from boxee users and we will work with Hulu and their partners to resolve the situation as quickly as possible." Ronen said the site, which was the most requested during Boxee's private alpha testing, generated 100,000-plus video streams for Hulu last week.
Sidenote: My favorite comment on Boxee so far: "Hulu on Boxee was what convinced me that appletv was actually useful."
By Staci D. Kramer