Comedy Central: “Screw you” to Hulu

Comedy-central-logoComedy Central is out of the Hulu business.

Viacom is pulling the cable net’s series off of the online programming service effective next week. 

That means fans of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report” will now have to watch episodes of both series on their respective Comedy Central-branded websites. 

Both “Daily Show” and “Colbert” rep two of Hulu’s most popular offerings, and the move reps the largest blow, programming wise, for Hulu since its launch in 2007. The two shows were first made available on Hulu in June 2008.

Hulu-logo  But Viacom is not an investor in Hulu, which is owned by a partnership between News Corp., NBC Universal and Disney. With not enough financial upside to making Comedy Central’s signature series available on Hulu, Viacom has opted to direct that traffic directly to the channel’s website.

“Hulu was one of the many digital distribution partners we’ve worked with over the past few years to add new outlets for our valuable and powerful content and to help drive the businesses of our partners,” Comedy Central said in a statement. “We had a great experience with Hulu, and we hope to work with its team again in the future.”

In a blog post on Hulu’s website, content/distribution senior VP Andy Forssell said the service continues “to talk to the Comedy Central folks about a number of opportunities… I’m confident that we’ll be working with them in multiple ways in the future.”

Nonetheless, Forssell also made a point to stress that in the 21 months that both “Daily Show” and “Colbert” have run on the online service, “we’ve had very strong results for both Hulu and Comedy Central, in terms of the views and revenue we’ve generated.”

The exec touted the benefits Comedy Central received from “innovative ad formats and very strong advertising effectiveness.”

“After a series of discussions with the team at Comedy Central, though, we ultimately were unable to secure the rights to extend these shows for a much longer period of time,” he added.

Hulu’s search engine will continue to point users to the “Daily Show” and “Colbert Report” video on their websites, which will likely help minimize user complaints. 

But nonetheless, Forssell noted that it was unusual for Hulu to explain the impending disappearance of video from the site. TV shows and movies regularly cycle on and off Hulu, and most clips have an expiration date. 

“Our users have been extremely vocal and passionate about how much they love what the Comedy Central folks are doing,” he wrote.

Comedy Central programming will disappear from Hulu effective 11:59 p.m. PT next Tuesday night.

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