Hulu has further signaled its overseas ambitions by hiring a dedicated international SVP to acquire TV rights. Johannes Larcher had previously been search firm overture's international GM, international VP for Friendster and last co-founded now-defunct, London-based social betting site Pikum. He takes over the early international scoping duties that were held by Hulu's content and distribution SVP Andy Forsell, who remains on the team.
There had been much speculation about a Hulu UK launch, even with later-denied reports the site had talked about a tie-up with Kangaroo. We learned of Hulu's 2009 international hopes, including UK, late last year, but the NBCU/News Corp (NYSE: NWS) joint venture was waiting for the outcome of the Competition Commission's Kangaroo inquiry to establish what programme rights it could get. NBCU International president Peter Smith last week told me the site is "really keen" to launch in Britain and has been "talking with all the partners you'd expect" for some time - "local partners with local content (to) put that rich cocktail of local and US content together".
Non-US Hulu.com visitors are now greeted with a popup message: "Hulu is committed to making its content available worldwide. To do so, we must work through a number of legal and business issues, including obtaining international streaming rights. Know that we are working to make this happen and will continue to do so. Given the international background of the Hulu team, we have both a professional and personal interest in bringing Hulu to a global audience."
By Robert Andrews