In an annoying move, NBC Universal, owners of Hulu.com, have decided to pull Hulu's programming from the Boxee application and TV.com, resulting in fewer places to watch Hulu programming.
Boxee is an open-source Mac and Linux media player that will also stream content from services like Netflix, YouTube, Shoutcast, Last.fm, Flickr, Picasa, CNN and others, while TV.com is the web-content streaming site owned by CBS.
Here's my question, "What's NBC's plan here?" Because of its huge back catalog of interesting TV shows and movies, Hulu already rules the world of streaming video. Since its revenue model is advertising supported, you'd think NBC would want as many eyes as possible on its shows, no matter where they came from.
While this move will no doubt move more people to look at the Hulu website, it could also lead to more people pirating shows and movies. It seems to me that strict control of content leads to piracy. I don't know if I'm representative of everyone on the Internet, but I gladly watch ads on streamed TV shows and pay money for movie and music downloads, but if it's harder to watch legitimately than to "steal," I'm tempted to put on my eye patch and say "Arrrrgh!" How about you? Are you a pirate or a paying customer?
Some have pointed out that Hulu's plan may be to provide content to your computer but not your television, which makes sense from Hulu's point-of-view: Ad revenue from people watching TV commercials is worth more than ad revenue from computer impressions, so maybe it doesn't make sense for NBC's online arm to compete with its brodacast arm. Of course, controlling the platform for video content makes very little sense from an end-user perspective. For example, I don't like watching video on my computer. I like watching it on my television. Perhaps content providers should just find a way to give me what I want instead of trying to make me watch content on the company's venue-of-choice.