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August 29, 2007

NBC and Fox Jump Through Hulu Hoop

Hulu.com will stream Heroes, 24 and thousands of hours of TV programming.

NBC Universal and News Corp. announced the name for their joint Internet video portal: Hulu.

Jason Kilar, the former Amazon.com executive who was hired as the joint venture's CEO in June, comments on Hulu.com that the site's name (selected by Interbrand) is "short, easy to spell, easy to pronounce and rhymes with itself" and "inherently fun."

Operating in stealth mode (under the names NewSite and NewCo) since being announced in March, the start-up portal received a $100 million equity investment from Providence Equity Partners (in return for a 10% stake) earlier this month.

Now accepting sign-ups for a limited beta soft-launch starting in October with the hard launch date still to be determined, the portal will miss its original official launch date of September.

"In the interest of delivering a great customer experience and making sure that we can address any feedback that comes along the way, we're going to start small and grow iteratively in terms of the volumes of people that we invite to participate in the beta," Kilar states on the site.

Besides operating as a standalone site, Hulu will also service as a broadband video distribution network to affiliates including Comcast, AOL, CNET, MSN, MySpace and Yahoo.

Boasting thousands of hours of video, Hulu will feature NBC series such as The Office, My Name is Earl and Heroes, Fox series including The Simpsons, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? and 24, plus both companies' cable networks, including content from News Corp.'s Fuel TV, FX and National Geographic Channel and NBCU's Bravo, CNBC and SCI FI.

Additional programming will be provided by Oxygen, TV Guide, Sundance Channel and Comcast's E!, G4, Golf Channel, Style and Versus.

Advertiser support will help make Hulu free to consumers. Charter advertisers on board for the launch include Cisco, GM, Intel, Cadbury Schweppes and Esurance.







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