YouTube is the clear leader in online video as the number #3 website in the world and with almost 12 times the website traffic as according to Compete.com but Hulu has an established model as one of the leading websites for legal viewing of television and movies. The biggest element restricting the growth of the Hulu audience is its limitation to the US market, with UK launch planned for September 2010 according to a number of sources.
Hulu Audience Figures
The restrictions to US viewers has been bypassed by a number of nations with the top audience listed below ranked by percentage of Hulu visitors based on Alexa data, so will there be plans to take the service global to make it a true competitor to YouTube?
- USA (93.1%)
- China (0.8%)
- UK (0.6%)
- India (0.6%)
- Canada (0.6%)
From a population perspective the UK is a suitable market based on potential audience, and language but for existing advertisers being able to reach Canadian citizens makes for a more attractive platform right now.
YouTube Audience Figures
YouTube is currently an international website with only about 23% of their traffic coming from a US audience, which allows for a more attractive platform for advertisers and a much larger distribution platform for media. The breakdown of YouTube visitor audience based on Alexa data:
- USA (23%)
- Japan (7%)
- India (4.9%)
- Germany (4.7%)
- UK (3.8%)
- Italy (3.8%)
- Mexico (3.7%)
- Brazil (3.5%)
- France (3.3%)
- Spain (2.6%)
Based on the audience figures, has Hulu made an incorrect decision to expand to the UK, as it only makes up just under 4% of total video viewers? It would make sense to launch Hulu into the European market even if it does only initially support English languages as the combined audience for Europe in the top 10 totals 18.2% of all YouTube visitors. This brings the EU close to the US in total possible audience for online video and would give Hulu the scale and reach advertisers demand.
To provide a better platform that can be tailored to advertisers, Hulu has shown how to keep advertisers happy by not forcing them to use their proprietary analytics tracking and allow 3rd party tracking tags to be used on Hulu. The primary web analytics platform used by Hulu is Google Analytics and Quantcast but many of their high-profile advertisers use other platforms such as Omniture, WebTrends or Coremetrics. They are also using AudienceScience to provide better targeting segments for their advertisers.
So who are the competitors to Hulu and YouTube? You can see this list of top online media entertainment websites by visiting Alexa one of the leading sites for ranking by category and country the top 10 are:
What is interesting is that Justin.TV one of the fastest growing Live tv channels is still well behind Hulu with a website Alexa traffic rank of 317, but Live events is the next piece of the puzzle for YouTube so will Hulu follow or lead the expansion into live content? The current Hulu menu system is shown below with blank space…
What is interesting is the design of the top menu allows for new additions to be added easily in the future as the service expands but will Hulu follow its content providers or match competitors when selecting new content groups? Some of the likely sections that could be added based on competitors are:
- Live Events
- User Generated
While a number of these items could be likely placed under the TV or Movies category, they all have enough demand and content that they can easily sustain their own sub-channels. It is likely that Hulu won’t follow its competitors in trying to be the one stop source for anything video, but a number of these categories are able to make platforms like MLBAM profitable so will likely be considered.
So what are the options for Hulu going forward? There are options to tie up with iTunes to allow apple to have a hosted product to match YouTube without having to invest in building a new platform. A number of networks have tried to build their own video players and some are successfully using content delivery networks such as Limelight to offer online video but not all are succeeding. It makes more sense for content producers to select an existing platform and white label solutions is something Hulu has considered offering.