Content Providers Demand Hulu Remove Boxee Support

Last night, both Boxee and Hulu announced on their blogs that content providers wanted Hulu pulled from Boxee. From Hulu’s blog:

Our content providers requested that we turn off access to our content via the Boxee product, and we are respecting their wishes. While we stubbornly believe in this brave new world of media convergence — bumps and all — we are also steadfast in our belief that the best way to achieve our ambitious, never-ending mission of making media easier for users is to work hand in hand with content owners. Without their content, none of what Hulu does would be possible, including providing you content via and our many distribution partner websites.


For those unfamiliar with Boxee, it is a media center application built around X-Box Media Center (XBMC). It provides access to your own videos, music, and pictures as well as streams from ABC, Netflix, and formerly Hulu.

Hulu provides users a great, legally sanctioned way to view television and film content. If you have never tried Hulu, please, take a look. Many shows are put up for viewing the following day. The great thing about Hulu, though, is that it’s content can be shared and embedded (or streamed, as was the case with Boxee). All the content is ad supported (one commercial where there would typically be 5-8 in a break). It seemed like a great win-win.

However, for some reason, content owners still must not get it. The commercials were still streamed to Boxee, so why they would want to remove a complete outlet to view that content is beyond me. The only thing I can see is that they still want on-line video content to fail. Or perhaps they were disillusioned that if content was watched through Boxee and not a web-page, it wouldn’t count as a view?

Whatever the case, this seems a “two-steps-forward and one-step-back” scenerio.

UPDATE: After talking with Dembro, we have come to the following conclusion:

Me: or maybe 3.) They have no f**ing clue what they’re doing and just want to exercise a little control over the content to make themselves feel better.
Dembro: yeah
Dembro: that’s probably it

And he also wrote his own post, though slightly more angry than mine.

UPDATE 2: I’d also like to point out that I had this post up (with heartbrake picture) 6 minutes before it was on Ars. So really, Chris Foresman copied me.

UPDATE 3: Mike Hedlund at O’Riely Radar has it exactly right:

Emphasis added: portable computing devices. Not to your TV — from your TV. To your dumb-ass laptop, you smelly, hairy, friendless, gamer-freak nerd. (Sorry, I hate to talk about you that way, but that’s how they think of the Internet. I think you smell great.) To your TV is something completely different, and from the “content providers'” point of view, completely wrong. Aren’t Apple and Tivo and YouTube bad enough as it is?