Well, that's a shock

| Comments (1) | Misc
When I initially read the NYT article on Boxee, a piece of software that aggregates content, including content from video streaming sites like Hulu, my first reaction was "how long till this gets shut down". Boxee's whole reason for being is to provide a unified interface for all your content, but that inherently disintermediates Hulu and their content providers, which want you to go through their interface, see their banner ads, ads for other shows, etc. So, it's not too surprising to see that Hulu is cutting off Boxee users:
Later this week, Hulu's content will no longer be available through Boxee. While we never had a formal relationship with Boxee, we are under no illusions about the likely Boxee user response from this move. This has weighed heavily on the Hulu team, and we know it will weigh even more so on Boxee users.

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.

It's unsurprising that the content providers want some sort of return for making their content available on demand through a seamless interface. Rather than something like Boxee which is sort of a hack on the existing web on demand services, I would expect one of the content providers to do a deal with Netflix, whose subscription service would let them compensate the content providers on an ongoing basis.


...Or Boxee (or a next-generation imitator) could just behave indistinguishably from a popular browser from the server's point of view, while reformatting everything (dropping--or substituting--ads) on the client side. How, then, does Hulu "cut off" Boxee/next-Boxee users without cutting off normal Internet users as well?

I've been predicting such "shell services" for quite some time now, and perhaps this is the first hint of their arrival. It'll be interesting to see how content providers respond...

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