Clearly, we are a very long way from seeing Lost or 24 streamed live to the internet, but Hulu appears to be at least crawling in that direction. First, it streamed presidential debates and several of President Obama speeches live, as well as ball dropping in Times Square on New Year's Eve. But today it announced it will be streaming its first live concert, a Dave Matthews show next month. The broadcast will air a show (from the Beacon Theater in New York City) to celebrate the release of the band's new album Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King. The concert will later be available on-demand on Hulu for a limited time.
Cable and satellite operators don't need to start panicking just yet. But the move is notable because unlike with the Obama coverage, which was mostly a public service, this is pure entertainment content, which is a profit center for TV. The Dave Matthews concert could easily have been broadcast on primetime TV rather than streamed on the web. It isn't a huge leap from concerts to more traditional TV-scheduled programming like reality shows or dramas, though cable operators, which pay the networks large fees to carry their programming, would for now likely squash any attempt to do that.
By Rory Maher