Comedy Central’s parent company Viacom is apparently moving ahead with plans to remove popular shows like The Daily Show and the Colbert Report from Hulu. Neither side is crying foul, but this represents a major loss to Hulu. The Daily Show is listed as the third most watched show on the service.
Hulu and Viacom originally reached an agreement in 2008 that landed the programs on the streaming service. According to Hulu’s Andy Forssell in a blog post, “In the past 21 months, we’ve had very strong results for both Hulu and Comedy Central, in terms of the views and revenue we’ve generated.” It seems that Viacom simply wanted better terms to extend the streaming license, and Hulu wasn’t having it.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t stream The Daily Show or Colbert Report, but you’ll have to go to their respective websites. This is the sort of fracturing of the online video model that consumers don’t need. Many people expecting to see this content on Hulu might not know seek it out elsewhere. Those are eyeballs Viacom won’t get back. Hulu said users that have subscribed to the affected shows will be notified of their removal today. Maybe if that pay wall ever goes up, Hulu could spread around more cash to prevent defections.