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March 3, 2010

Hulu loses 'Daily Show,' 'Colbert Report'

Posted: 04:09 PM ET

Comedic television hosts continue to be at the center of programming battles. Comedy Central, owned by Viacom, Inc., has decided to pull "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report" from, according to The Wall Street Journal.

As of March 9, Hulu will lose the rights to the two half-hour shows, but that doesn't mean they're disappearing from the Internet entirely. Full episodes will still be streamed on and

Andy Forssell, Hulu's Senior Vice President of Content and Distribution, characterized the split in a blog post as a parting of ways that may not be permanent, noting that Comedy Central's content had been incredibly beneficial to the free service.

"In the past 21 months, we’ve had very strong results for both Hulu and Comedy Central, in terms of the views and revenue we’ve generated, thanks to a couple of key trends," Forssell wrote. "First, more and more of our viewers have voted with their time by making these shows a regular part of their day. And second, we’ve driven steadily increasing revenue per view as advertisers voted with their budgets to take advantage of innovative ad formats and very strong advertising effectiveness."

So why the split?

"Maybe Viacom is hoping that viewership on its own air and websites will improve if the shows aren’t available elsewhere," wrote Samuel Axon on the social-media news site Mashable. "We’re also not sure exactly what caused the arrangement between Viacom and Hulu to end. Hulu simply said it was unable to secure the rights. Viacom might have asked for a financial deal the site was unable to agree to."

The news sparked much grousing online among Hulu users and fans of the shows.

"This sucks. Hulu is the future of TV, and the big execs at the studios know it, and they know it will kill their old revenue streams (subscriptions) so they’re trying to kill it before it has a chance to mature," wrote a user named Chris in a post on Hulu's blog.

"Hopefully eventually the studios will see the potential for major revenue streams through sites like Hulu, but it won’t happen until TVs come with a Hulu sticker & people can just tune in like another channel. That’s the future – it’s just a matter of waiting for the studios to realize it," Chris added.

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Filed under: Hulu • television

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Huludon'tcare   March 4th, 2010 12:19 am ET

I hope all of the good shows leave Hulu we can't even see the shows we love from overseas. Military people can't even watch anything from there home base's.

Phun   March 4th, 2010 5:17 am ET

Hulu is too restricted to just the United States and internationally that has to be rectified someday.
Listening to two comedians acting like left and right wing advocates is too ironic to be real. At least their gigs are well paying unlike most real jobs in the United States at the moment.

Anonymous   March 4th, 2010 5:55 am ET

Yeah, that sucks.

Kris   March 4th, 2010 7:22 am ET

Hulu is the future of TV? In what sense, the fact it'll soon charge for usage? I agree on that term...

HuluIsTVDoneWrong   March 4th, 2010 9:20 am ET

Hulu is everything the internet isnt. Its a service only available to residents of the USA. Thats 'great'. The internet is a place of no boundaries. I'm suprised that no one has stepped up and created a world tv site.

Cindy   March 4th, 2010 10:33 am ET

How do you figure Hulu is the only one that does that? My kids wanted to watch Dr. Who episodes but they were only available from BBC if you lived in the UK. The internet is not completely open across borders. I am sure Hulu would offer it to the world if they could but I am guessing their hands are tied on this one.

Mike   March 4th, 2010 11:19 am ET

Love how these companies think they can drive revenue up simply by limiting services, just like lots of ISP's like Cox, Comcast etc.

What the hell is wrong with you people? If you keep running your business this way you're going to lose out! Change with the times, you may not clear as much as a profit, but it'll be better that the silliness you're purporting now.

corey- nyc   March 4th, 2010 11:57 am ET

Hulu is the only way outside Cable for me to watch TV i have not gotten a TV signal since 9/11 hear in NYC not even with a digital antenna .which leads me to believe that TV will no longer be FREE ,and only households which have the money to pay for a Cable contract will be able to watch TV (something is wrong if i cant get a Free TV signal hear in NYC ) we need the FCC to step in and demand equal access for ALL AMERICANS !!

itsagulati   March 4th, 2010 1:17 pm ET

Sadly, execs will never realize Hulu type websites until Hulu starts charging people somewhere in the ball park of what cable companies charge for operations.

$50 x 200 million subscribers in the us = $10 billion of which some portion goes to the actual networks / channels

+ tv ad revenue is far higher than internet ad revenue

So, until those two figures come closer...they will continue to fight it much like the music industry fought to secure mp3 dls except the difference is that music is cheap to make. TV Shows aren' big graphical wonders on tv would go away in response to cutting costs as would the abundance of tv shows.

Lee   March 4th, 2010 4:54 pm ET

I love hulu. Minimal commercials and easy to navigate. Many of the shows I watched on hulu have been sucked back to their home network's website and I since no longer watch them. I find the network sites markedly more difficult to navigate and they keep shows available for much less time.

I think that sites such as hulu if expanded would be the future of programming. Watchable to the viewer at the viewer's schedule rather than the schedule picked by the network execs

subslug   March 4th, 2010 5:31 pm ET

That Over The Air signal will cost you soon enough too if network TV stations get their way.
Anyway, expecting the FCC to ever "step in" and solve anything is a pipe dream. Name one time when the FCC has done anything that made sense.

We still have cell phones that only work here in the US thanks to these wonderful folks with the FCC.

Geekoid   March 4th, 2010 6:15 pm ET

Well, then I won't be watching those shows. I don't want to surf all over the internet to get the shows I want to watch. A central location is what I want. I don't mind a reasonable amount of commercials. I understand that's how these companies make money.

Kevin   March 5th, 2010 9:50 am ET

Do all these responders complaining about how hulu is only available in the US realize that's because of the broadcast companies, not hulu's own decision. Broadcast rights are negotiated based on geographical region. Have any of you ever wanted to watch a show from the BBC? If you try to\, their app tells you cant watch from outside the EU due to broadcasting rights. This is the big networks trying to hold off a changing marketplace.

John Phoenix   May 2nd, 2010 3:10 pm ET

Someone is LYING outright. They do know why the split.. its because HULU is set to start charging next month. Comedy Central doesn't like that.. They will host the shows themselves for free. I hope HULU loses tons of shows over this bad stupid free move. Hulu is just being greedy. They have a huge well to do parent company, They already have add supported funds. i would to see Hulu go under and see why this charging move is so stupid then re-emerge Free again promising never to pull a stunt like that again. Bravo Comedy Central !

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