News Corp and NBC line up rival to Joost

US video site Hulu is still in its trial stage, but is already primed for a debut in the UK.

News Corporation and NBC Universal's yet-to-launch US online video site, Hulu, is gearing up for a UK launch that is expected to provide strong competition to Joost.

The service, which is still in private trials will rival Joost for the mantle of the online video sector's strongest professional content offering.

While online video players such as YouTube lead the way in terms of video users to date, Hulu and Joost are expected to at least match its success due to their as-yet-unrivalled line-up of professional content from the Hollywood studios.

The strength of the proposed content offering on Hulu - which features programming from the likes of MGM, Sony, E! and National Geographic - is expected to provide stiff competition for sites such as ITV.com and 4degD, which feature much UK-origin content.

Hulu is remaining tight-lipped about its specific plans to launch the service beyond the US.

Christina Lee, Hulu director of corporate communications, told Media Week: "Hulu is working with content partners to acquire distribution rights and licences to bring the Hulu.com experience to users in additional markets globally."

According to a former NBC Universal executive with knowledge of the company's digital strategy, the two Hollywood studios intend to bring Hulu to the UK. The source said: "It's on the roadmap for sure, although the rights issues are obviously a challenge. If they can clear these hurdles, then they will."

In the US, Hulu will be a free, ad-supported service.

Lee noted that the platform would seek to carry ads in a low-key manner. She said: "At trial, Hulu offers sponsor cards before a video, interstitial ads during normal commercial breaks, in-page banner ads and overlay ads."

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