Aloha to “Hulu”


Hulu3 News Corp. and NBC Universal on Wednesday unveiled the official name to their new online video joint venture: Hulu. Hulu?

Apparently the branding companies that specialize in company names are simply picking up a Hawaiian language dictionary these days. (How do I get a piece of that action, by the way? For a few hundred grand, I give any of you permission to swipe a name off the list of songs we’ve played on Hawaiian Eye.)

After all, Wikipedia comes from the Hawaiian phrase “wiki wiki,” or “fast.” The search engine Mahalo takes its name after the word for “thank you.” Internet tech company Akamai means “smart” in Hawaiian. The list goes on.


Now, there’s “hulu,” which means “feather, quill, plumage” in Hawaiian, according to the “Hawaiian Dictionary” by Mary Kawena Pukui and Samuel H. Elbert (above). The secondary definition is actually rather nice: “esteemed, choice, precious.”

Of course, I have no idea whether the folks behind Hulu — until now only known as “NewCo” — were thinking Hawaiian. (It was the first thing that came to my mind — several hula halaus around the globe have the word “Hulu” in their name.) On the site, CEO Jason Kilar explained his choice this way:

Hulu is short, easy to spell, easy to pronounce, and rhymes with itself. Subjectively, Hulu strikes us as an inherently fun name, one that captures the spirit of the service we’re building. Our hope is that Hulu will embody our (admittedly ambitious) never-ending mission, which is to help you find and enjoy the world’s premier content when, where and how you want it.

Now, Hulu ever expands overseas, it may run into some unfortunate translation problems, particularly in Indonesia — according to this list found at Websters Online Dictionary: (Lots more after the jump)

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