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03-14-2009, 06:54 PM
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Spending big bucks on a Super Bowl spot has paid off for Hulu.
The NBC Universal-News Corp. joint venture shot up the online charts to rank No. 2 behind YouTube among online vid providers for February, according to the latest numbers from Nielsen Online. The February growth spurt coincided with Hulu's first major consumer marketing push, which kicked off with the debut on the Feb. 1 Super Bowl telecast of the much-buzzed-about spot featuring "30 Rock" star Alec Baldwin.
Hulu, which marked the one-year anniversary of its public launch Thursday, grew 33% from January to 309 million streams of full-length TV segs, movies, clips and sundry made-for-Web content, most of it tied to TV shows produced by Fox and NBC U. Hulu's unique user base shot up to 9.5 million in February from 7.2 million in January.
But from the get-go, NBC U and News Corp. brass have said Hulu is a big investment in the future. It's also an effort to ensure that Internet-savvy viewers have legal access to their shows in an online venue where NBC U and News Corp. can sell ads; without such a venue users might seek out illegal sources.
Hulu pushed Yahoo out of the No. 2 spot in the online video rankings for February. Yahoo slipped to No. 3 with an 8% decline from January to 250 million streams. Rounding out the top five were Nickelodeon's various sites, with a 3% gain to 209 million streams, and Fox Interactive Media (primarily MySpace) with 194 million, down 9%.