Netflix vs. Hulu: Streaming Superpowers Get in Slap Fight

Posted on by Dom Sinacola (Dom Sinacola)
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According to a recent Netlfix press release, the current streamable content superpower (20 million subscribers as of two weeks ago) has struck a two-year licensing deal with CBS Corp. to allow users with streaming capabilities access to CBS's extensive TV library. This means episodes of recent hits like "Medium" will commingle with old favorites such as "The Andy Griffith Show," "Cheers," "Twin Peaks," and "Family Ties," not to mention with all episodes from all versions of the "Star Trek" franchise. Like dorks need another reason to not go outside.

Though Amazon.com was able to single-handedly drop Netflix's stock on the same day as the CBS announcement by revealing its own streamable content service available to Amazon Prime subscribers, the biggest obstacle to Netflix's domination of quality, streamable programming is Hulu, the ad-supported website offering a deluge of popular content from major broadcast television studios and cable networks alike, including ABC, FOX, FX, Comedy Central, and MTV. But not CBS.

Chief Content Officer for Netflix, Ted Sarandos, commented, "We are thrilled to be bringing CBS shows to Netflix and are looking forward to growing our relationship over time... Netflix is now the only online premium subscription service with shows featured on all four broadcast networks and dozens of cable TV's biggest brands."

However, the deal is conspicuously "non-exclusive," which means that Netflix is only on top...for now.

A few weeks ago, Hulu announced a major deal with the Criterion Collection---the video-distribution company selling elaborately-packaged "important" classic and contemporary films to cinephiles---to eventually offer every film, some 800+ titles, to HuluPlus subscribers at an admirable 720p quality. The announcement was a kick in the stomach to Netflix, who previously streamed a large assortment of Criterion titles and who now have to watch all their Criterion titles quickly phased out of streaming queues as Hulu beefs up its Criterion choices.

Peter Becker, Director of the Criterion Collection, had this to say in response to Netflix subscribers complaining about their loss: "...why Hulu? In short, because they get it. As their regular viewers know, the Hulu user experience is exactly what it should be: simple, elegant, and focused on the content. Hulu has built their brand on letting the shows and movies take center stage. Nobody does it better, and we're honored that they see Criterion as a good match for their audience."

Fair enough. It was an incisive move on Hulu's part, especially in the wake of rumors that Netflix's exclusive deal with Starz, involving hundreds of movies and TV shows and reaching its expiration this summer, wasn't necessarily guaranteed to continue. In other words, it's been a scary time for Spartacus: Blood and Sand fans---how else will you receive your regular dose of naked Lucy Lawless? A Starz subscription??

No, you're right, I'm just kidding.

At this point, subscribing to both Netflix and HuluPlus is still about 75% cheaper than buying cable, and is about two dollars cheaper than going to see a movie on a Friday night. For the time being, viewers need not worry which service will win the undoubtedly soon-to-be-epic blood feud. Instead, we can relish in the variety and quality available to Americans for so little money, and watch as selections only broaden to accompany the competition. Modern life's not so bad, is it?

(That is, if you're American. Canadians know all too well that their version of Netflix sucks. But I suppose that's what you get in exchange for decent health care.)

If you had to pick, Netflix or Hulu?

2416 views & 14 votes

Debate It! 1

It's a shame I have Hughesnet for my internet provider. Neither option does me any good at the moment.

Posted By lockheed40,

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