Hulu is in the process of developing an app for Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone and iPod touch, we have learned from a plugged-in industry executive. The app is coming soon (within a few months) and is “badass” — as excellent as Hulu’s Web site. Video will work over both wi-fi and 3G, we’re told.
It won’t be the first Web video app for the iPhone — CBS’s TV.com app is on the market, as are Joost, i.TV and several others — but it could be the best. Hulu’s tech and design teams have demonstrated themselves as the best in the Web video industry, as everyone is now trying to emulate them. One hurdle, we assume: Because of Hulu’s streaming architecture, it might not be possible to download videos to watch later, such as on the subway or an aeroplane.
Why would Apple and AT&T approve this app, which will use up a lot of bandwidth and compete with Apple’s iTunes video store? Because it will help sell iPhones, iPod touches, and AT&T subscriptions. And that’s the whole point of the App Store. (And if we were Hulu, we’d offer Apple and/or AT&T an ad revenue-sharing deal, too.)
Mobile video has not taken off yet, mainly because most services — offered by carriers — are too expensive, or look terrible. Just over 3% of mobile subscribers watch video on their phones, according to comScore. An iPhone Hulu app, on the other hand, could be very popular.
We have asked Hulu for comment and will update if we hear back.
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