updated 12:15 pm EST, Thu December 3, 2009
Hulu to stay the same, but cable channels out
Hulu won't undergo a shakeup following the Comcast buyout of NBC, the cable provider said during a conference call to discuss the merger. Comcast chief operating officer Stephen Burke called Hulu's existing business model "smart and appropriate" and said there weren't any plans to change the way the streaming video site works. He points out that the split already works in Comcast's favor, as much of Hulu's content comes from basic cable and leaves out the premium channels that Comcast would want to reserve for On Demand Online.
Burke added that NBC (and now Comcast) was only one of three studios involved in Hulu and thus couldn't determine its fate outright. However, he noted that Comcast doesn't have any plans to implement a pay-only section of Hulu.
The statements allay some of the fears triggered by the buyout. As a cable TV operator, Comcast has a vested interest in keeping customers away from Internet-only video properties lest they cancel TV in favor of Internet access alone. It's not clear whether Comcast plans any change in policy for pay-per-show services like Amazon VOD or iTunes.