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broadband internet TV service Hulu still targeting UK launch

The USA based Hulu, a free online broadband video (IPTV) service that offers web access to hit TV shows and is backed by News Corp, NBC Universal and Disney, has reiterated its intention to launch the service in the UK during September 2009 and promised to work with UK broadband ISPs.

Hulu had previously said that it was in talks with the BBC, ITV and Channel4 to secure access to related content. However negotiations ran into difficulties when the group pushed to retain control over Channel4 and ITV's advertising sales around all of the content on its platform.

It's understood that Hulu is now offering equity stakes in its UK business, plus a share of online advertising. This is believed to be attracting ITV, although the status of other broadcasters is less certain. Hulu also has strong content competition from the likes of MSN, Blinkbox and YouTube to worry about.

Hulu's International Senior VP, Johannes Larcher, told London's Future of Broadcasting conference:

"We are talking to everyone. The UK is our number one priority in terms of international expansion. We are very interested in the UK. We hope in the very near future we will have some plans to reveal for the UK."

Hulu intends to localise its UK service and thus avoid being perceived as a US focused business. It is also seeking to work with UK broadband ISPs so as to better facilitate its goal of delivering higher quality video. This would no doubt make some ISPs very happy, especially with the BBC's competing iPlayer already causing a few headaches and network traffic strains.

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