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NBC Chief Talks Hulu

sg_huluThe great Hulu experiment continues as NBC Universal’s TV head, Marc Graboff will continue to tackle other business models consisting of subscription-based content and an up-tick of advertising. Hulu, which debuted in 2007, does a great job by exposing viewers to content they may not watch on traditional TV. Like any business, its job is to also make money for its owners which, sadly, is not happening.

“Now the trick is … to turn those digital pennies into digital dollars,” says Graboff. “Hulu has got to bolster its economics. I do think Hulu is experimenting with different models. I know they’re looking at any number of things, like adding inventory (more advertising) or creating a subscription model with different windows. They’ll eventually get it.”

Graboff was at the Digital Hollywood conference in Santa Monica and he went on to say that NBC’s investment in Hulu was the right step. He also admitted that the video site’s content owners have had lukewarm feelings about which programming they want to add for online viewers. The biggest concern is content theft and piracy. “Our research indicates that making shows available online has not cannibalized but has been additive,”Graboff added. Hulu’s owners are made up of General Electric Co‘s NBC Universal, News Corp’s Fox Entertainment and Walt Disney Co’s ABC.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts recently spoke at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco. In an interview with Federated Media CEO John Battelle, Roberts seemed to understand the drive to online viewing. So much so, Roberts will continue to drive Comcast toward aggressively investing in further expansions in higher-bandwidth for consumers. Don’t expect the cable-leader to bust its tail just for Hulu. Comcast will officially launch which will feature content not available on rival-Hulu by the end of the year.

Also at the Web 2.0 conference was GE Corp. CEO Jeffrey Immelt who, surprisingly, gave a thumbs up the burgeoning online viewing platform. He revealed that his 22-year-old daughter uses Hulu for all her programming and that controlling TV content might be futile. Immelt’s favorite shows on Hulu? The Office and 30 Rock.

Now where’s American Idol?

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