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TV.com Cites Traffic Surge

24 Mar, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel

The battle for supremacy of repurposed movie and television content on the Web took another turn when TV.com, a unit of CBS Corp., March 24 reported a 162% increase in unique viewers, a 551% increase in video streams and a 4,316% increase in minutes viewed in February compared to the same period last year.

The site, which has waged a lower profile marketing campaign in contrast to rival Hulu.com, said it reported a 37% increase in unique viewers, a 33% increase in video streams and a 45% increase in minutes compared to January.

Last month comScore said TV.com attracted 11.1 million global unique visitors.

TV.com, which earlier this month began offering ad-supported streaming content in high-definition, has license deals with Sony, MGM and Starz Media, among others.

“This continued momentum in viewers, streams and unique users is evidence that our strategy … is working,” said Anthony Soohoo, SVP and GM, TV.com. 

Hulu.com, the NBC Universal and News Corp. co-founded streaming site, continues to increase its exposure via pricey national TV campaigns starring Alec Baldwin and most recently, Seth McFarlane, creator of “Family Guy.”

Earlier this year Hulu pulled back select TV shows, notably “Heroes,” “Family Guy” and “The Simpsons,” from TV.com and other third-party sites, citing contractual rights.

Through February, Hulu recorded a 32.8% rise in overall streams and 41.6% surge in unique viewers from January, according to comScore. Minutes per viewer dropped 18.4% to 64.5 from 79 minutes.

Jeffrey Zucker, president and CEO of NBC Universal, recently sidestepped questions regarding whether Hulu was profitable, saying the site was ahead of schedule. He said he hoped the contractual issues could be resolved in the near future.

Some doubt that would happen anytime soon.

“CBS is now a competitor because they wouldn’t join in at the beginning, and they’re going to use TV.com, so why would Hulu help them?” one executive told Broadcast & Cable.

Independent analyst Rob Enderle said Hulu has the mind share at the moment due to marketing despite the fact TV.com is a name more people would remember. 

“Mind share tends to trump everything else, but this market is still very young and someone else could still come out of left field and steal it,” Enderle said.


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