At today’s hearing on the Comcast-NBC merger, Jeff Zucker was asked by Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) why NBC blocked Hulu from getting on Boxee.
This was a decision made by the Hulu management to, uh, what Boxee was doing was illegally taking the content that was on Hulu without any business deal. And, you know, all, all the, we have several distributors, actually many distributors of the Hulu content that we have legal distribution deals with so we don’t preclude distribution deals. What we preclude are those who illegally take that content.
Boxee CEO Avner Ronen challenged Jeff’s assertions on the Boxee company blog.
Boxee was not taking Hulu content. It was just playing it through its software. Avner says, “Ads play like they do on other browsers or on Hulu Desktop. And it certainly is legal to do so.”
While it is technically true Hulu CEO Jason Kilar decided to block Hulu, Avner says it wasn’t really his choice. In blog post for Hulu, Jason wrote, “Our content providers requested that we turn off access to our content via the Boxee product, and we are respecting their wishes.”
Avner also says NBC hasn’t shown a willingness to negotiate so far, though it should.
According to Avner, Boxee has almost a million viewers. Boxee doesn’t block out Hulu advertisements, so the company is missing out on eyeballs.