Report: Disney in talks to join Hulu

The Walt Disney Company is discussing a deal to take an equity stake in Hulu in exchange for providing the video portal with ABC programming, according to a published report.

Citing unnamed sources, news blog PaidContent says that it’s not clear how much of ABC’s content would be involved, but a final deal could include ESPN, the sports cable behemoth that has been a goldmine for Disney.

Representatives from Disney and Hulu were not immediately available.

The talks between the two companies reportedly are "serious," but a final deal has not been reached, according to two of PaidContent’s sources.

In the year since launching, Hulu has quickly risen to the top ranks of online video. The site is currently backed by News Corp., parent company of Fox and NBC Universal.

Source: CNET News

NBC Direct Offers Free HD Downloads

Sure, almost all the offerings on NBC Direct can be watched at streaming site Hulu. But if you’re an HD fiend and want offline access, NBC Direct’s player might be worth checking out.

NBC Direct is definitely powered by DRM and ad-powered software, so if you’re not cool with that, well, you probably know a few other places to look (like, er, Hulu). But if you dig the idea of subscribing to, and downloading, HD-quality videos of your favorite NBC shows, it’s not a bad way of getting them guilt-free.

Installing NBC Direct means downloading a little applet, which then puts an add-on into your Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox browser, and runs a system tray applet to download and watch shows offline. When you’re connected, it seems, you’re also a peer source for other NBC Direct users…

See the full article at LifeHacker.

MTV Pulls The Plug On Embeddable Videos

When NBC Universal and News Corporation-backed Hulu launched in Fall 2007, it was a signal that old television media might actually grasp the distributive power of the internet. Not only were great programs made available for free as streaming videos, users could grab and embed them anywhere online – in their entirety or just as clips.

So it’s a bit of a shame to see another giant media conglomerate, Viacom, buck this trend and actually clamp down on the embedding of videos from the MTV Network. Yesterday in a post to its developer blog, a staff member for MTVN developer services announced that video embeds would no longer be available through MTV’s API, starting sometime in early March.

Currently, developers can build websites that embed videos from MTV, VH1, CMT and Logo (such as this one that also embeds videos from YouTube). But soon developers will be allowed to display only thumbnails and meta data associated with MTV’s videos. If users want to watch the actual videos, they’ll have to follow links back to webpages that are owned and monetized by MTVN.

See the full article at TechCrunch.