Hulu is to enter the live streaming space for the first time, offering the remaining two Presidential debates live as part of its new Hulu Election ‘08 portal.
The new portal features clips and full replays of major political stories (such as previous debates) and topical clips, such as last weekends Saturday Night Live send up of the Vice Presidential debate. It sounds like a good service, and I would have tested it before writing this post, but like everything else on Hulu it’s georetarded, so nothing on the page can be viewed outside of the United States.
Hulu has long blamed its content partners for its georetarding policies, and until now, as much as many of us outside of the United States hate it, the argument has had some level of validity. For example, I’m unable to stream shows directly off of most rights holders websites, so it’s a uniform decision that drives the rest of the world to Chinese hosted streams, YouTube or bittorrent.
But the election material is very, very different. There’s absolutely nothing I could find on the Hulu Election site I can’t already watch outside of the United States legally from content providers. Among the key providers of footage for Hulu are NBC/ MSNBC and Fox, and guess what: videos from both can be watched on demand outside of the United States (at least they played for me in Australia), and that’s direct on the site, and through embeds popular on other sites. And it’s not just the strictly political news content either: I can play the Saturday Night Live clip on an NBC embed as featured here on The Huffington Post.
So what exactly is Hulu’s excuse now? That it’s too hard perhaps to drop georetardation for some videos and not all of them perhaps? hardly seems a challenge when you consider that NBC can block full shows, but display clips. One can only presume that simply Hulu doesn’t care. If Hulu’s georetardation policies were a joke before, they are now officially beyond a joke. EPIC FAIL.