Hulu's Broadcast of Michael Jackson Memorial the Shape of Streams to Come

Last Updated Jul 6, 2009 6:34 PM EDT

Hulu put out on its Twitter feed moments ago that it would stream Michael Jackson's memorial service tomorrow at 10 a.m. PST. You can be sure BNET Media will be watching, if for no other reason than to see if the site can live up to the bandwidth demands.

What's interesting about Hulu's involvement is that, in airing the memorial service, it is making sure that on what will be one of the biggest days in video streaming history, it protects its territory as the go-to site for professional video content. In fact, I believe it's the first time Hulu has ever gone live. If this goes well, and probably even if it doesn't, expect this to be the precursor to Hulu streaming other live events, from the Super Bowl to the Oscars -- a process made simpler by the fact that now Hulu has ownership from three of the four major broadcast nets, excluding our corporate overlord, CBS.

While, for a variety of reasons, this will almost surely be a commercial-free broadcast, in future, Hulu can leverage its ability to aggregate audience, and its fledgling business model, to make money off of live events on behalf of its investors. Sounds a lot like TV, actually.

Hulu certainly won't be the only venue streaming the memorial service online, though it may be one of the few that allows other sites to embed it. Outlets ranging from CNN.com to nytimes.com and sister streamers Foxnews.com (whose feed Hulu will pick up), and MSNBC.com will also be streaming the memorial. But to steal a line from a Jackson 5 song, Hulu's got to be there.

(UPDATE: The social nets are getting involved too; for instance, CNN and Facebook Connect are teaming up again, as they did for the election and inauguration, so that users can chat with their Facebook friends while streaming the service.)

Previous coverage of Hulu and Michael Jackson on BNET Media: