Rumors on the web state the Hulu is probably going to be in the UK by year end. As you're all probably aware by now, I don't live in America so I don't get Hulu at all. They're apparently going to be expanding into those 'other markets' of which they've told us for so long.
The Telegraph reported that Hulu is planning to expand into the UK this autumn and will include 3,000 hours of American content. They say that ITV and Channel 4 content are also scheduled to be heading to the service as well. There are also rumblings that Hulu and the BBC are chatting about potential cooperation.
Brand Republic says there's a problem with ad sales where Hulu wants to have complete control and Channel 4 and ITV say they need some control.
Hulu already has a deal with Digital Rights Group which will offer Americans (within the borders of America that is) several British TV shows, including Green Wing, Peep Show, Kingdom, and Doc Martin.
That's a whole lot of rumors and it adds up to, maybe they will. The UK is a large television watching culture so why not expand there first? Bonus points - they speak English. They're also one of the richer countries in the world and so advertisers want to target them.
Now I see how Hulu works. If you're not in a rich country, you probably won't get the service. Or if you do it will be years down the line. Of course it's about money. The companies behind the service have bottom lines and people watching ROI and all that. So that means that they probably won't make any quick moves into new markets unless they know that they can target ads there first. It's not like they really have to do anything special to move into a new market aside from unblocking the country from viewing the site and getting some ads for the area. I'm sure there are companies like Coke, McDonald's, Starbucks which have worldwide presences that would be happy to drop ads into videos headed to say somewhere like....The Czech Republic. I found the chart over at LeisureGuy it's for 2007 and I thought the UK would be higher than 11th as I seem to remember them leading the world in TV viewing in the 90's.
Hulu must be taking into account several factors, not just richness or average television watching. Probably also the number of ads available for the market, the language spoken and local content. But Japan watches a lot of TV, I'm sure there are tons of ads available for the market and many of them speak English quite well. Maybe it's also a reciprocal thing where the content in the country must be able to be made available to US-based viewers as well. That would surely shoot a hole in most countries chances of being high on the list. I imagine that my chosen home is probably around 20th on the list. Oddly, local television is stacked full of American shows like Lost, The Big Bang Theory, CSI, The Simpsons, Futurama and others.