Sony Playing With Hulu Hoops
Sony is said to be nearing a deal with video service Hulu to carry content from the upcoming pay-per-month version of Hulu's video hosting service. Hulu is currently the second largest video website on the Internet.
Hulu is also in talks with CBS, Viacom and Time Warner to have these companies add their own content to Hulu's subscription service, according to people with direct knowledge of the talks. Of course, a deal with Sony will ensure Sony content is available over this service as well.
When Howard Stringer joined Sony as its new CEO in 2005, he carried with him a career of involvement with content creation. Stringer was brought in on a singular mission: to reform Sony by transforming it into a content-driven corporation, using its hardware as beachheads into the family home through which Sony content would successfully enter. This vision resembles the vertical integration of the old rail barons as represented in video games such as Railroad Tycoon.
Hulu represents a further expansion of this content. While anyone can use the Playstation 3 to browse the Internet, and YouTube can be accessed in this way, YouTube is disliked by media corporations for a simple reason: it's free. Viacom is just coming off losing a district court ruling to have YouTube (and Google) punished to the tune of a cool billion dollars for violating Viacom copyrights, but YouTube's strict policy of removing content when informed of a copyright violation places it squarely in compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and that is the statute that matters here. Nonetheless, Viacom certainly isn't going to put its content on the Internet for free.Continued on the next page