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Hulu Rumored for September Launch in UK

May 21, 2009
The free online video-on-demand (VOD) service, Hulu, may be expanding for the first time to a market outside of the US, with a launch in the UK as soon as September, the UK’s Telegraph reported on Wednesday. Sources close to the negotiations tell the daily newspaper that Hulu is in talks with the UK’s ITV and Channel 4 for content partners, and the service would bring over more than 3,000 hours of American TV content. Content from the BBC is also being negotiated.

It is expected that a UK version of Hulu will bring video-on-demand content to users the day after it broadcasts on the traditional TV channel and be available for 30 days after the original air date. A snag in the negotiations involves Hulu’s request to have control over ad sales around the content of Channel 4 and ITV content

“Hulu is proposing a model that works in the American marketplace – however Channel 4 and ITV will not consent to that,” said an unnamed senior TV advertising executive close to both broadcasters. “Both parties always retain the commercial rights and sell their own ad inventory.”

He added that Hulu is the one pushing for a September launch but is running out of time if it continues to request having complete control over the ad sales.

The video streaming site, which is a joint venture betwen Disney, NBC Universal and News Corp., has previously acknowledged that it’s engaged in expansion talks but hasn’t said how close it was to reaching a deal in any one of the several key foreign markets it plans to reach.

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