After months in Beta, Hulu opened to the public today. If you like online video you are going to love it. If you don’t like or haven’t used online video, Hulu is likely to make you a fan. Earlier this week the New York Times noted the rapid increase in online viewing of television shows. Millions of Americans are watching their favorite television shows on their laptops, and in some instances their PDAs, iPhones or iPods.
Hulu, today, sets the bar for what the online long form video experience should be. In many ways it is reminiscent of the introduction of the iPod. Hulu is easy to use, has an extensive library of popular programs and provides very good picture quality on a laptop or desktop. Having tried virtually all of the online video services, Hulu is, by far, my favorite. It still is unclear whether Hulu or any of the online video providers have a viable business model. But it is clear to me that as television viewers, particularly young and affluent television viewers migrate to watching television online, advertisers and the networks eventually will figure out business models reflective of that migration.