Viacom and Hulu announced on Tuesday that they were unable to agree to an extension of an 18-month partnership that allowed the streaming video service to carry Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” and “Colbert Report” – two of Hulu’s most popular shows.
The split, first reported by Media Decoder, will take effect next week, the companies said.
Andy Forsell, Hulu’s senior vice president of content and distribution, explained Hulu’s side in a blog post:
In the past 21 months, we’ve had very strong results for both Hulu and Comedy Central, in terms of the views and revenue we’ve generated, thanks to a couple of key trends. First, more and more of our viewers have voted with their time by making these shows a regular part of their day. And second, we’ve driven steadily increasing revenue per view as advertisers voted with their budgets to take advantage of innovative ad formats and very strong advertising effectiveness. After a series of discussions with the team at Comedy Central, though, we ultimately were unable to secure the rights to extend these shows for a much longer period of time.
Viacom will continue to offer full episodes and clips of both shows for free at TheDailyShow.com and ColbertNation.com Web sites.
It’s a blow to Hulu -- the 3-year-old ad-supported site owned by a number of major media companies, including NBC Universal – which is said to be mulling a switch to a paid model (or at least roll out a premium version) after NBCU’s blockbuster merger with Comcast is approved.
Hulu shares ad revenue with its content partners, though does not disclose the split and declined to say what its deal with Viacom is specifically.
In statement, Viacom said “it had a great experience with Hulu, and we hope to work with its team again in the future.”
Forsell, meanwhile, seemed hopeful the shows might eventually return:
So for now, these shows are rotating off the service — or more specifically, at 11:59 p.m. PST next Tuesday, March 9th, these shows will come down from Hulu. We encourage all of you to watch them at TheDailyShow.com and ColbertNation.com, either by going there directly or by searching on Hulu to help you get there. In the meantime, we are continuing to talk to the Comedy Central folks about a number of opportunities. They’re a great team and I’m confident that we’ll be working with them in multiple ways in the future … so stay tuned and know that we are scouring the earth for more great content for you.