NBC U inked a deal with Netflix to distribute shows like Heroes they day after they air on the network, putting another crimp in the Hulu.com business model. Netflix subscribers will get next-day access to Heroes, as well as past episodes of 30 Rock, Friday Night Lights and The Office, online.
The deal is for what Variety called “subscription on-demand rights,” which sounds distinct from the free streaming on-demand, which Hulu.com and its distribution partners control. This means shows like Heroes will be available on Netflix, NBC.com and on the Hulu distribution network, which includes Yahoo!, MSN and AOL. So here’s what seems to be the obvious question: how does this not subtract potential ad revenue from Hulu? Or, rather, how does it help Netflix if the shows are ubiquitous elsewhere through Hulu, with its snazzy interface and ability to re-post the video to blogs, web sites, etc?
We’re hoping a later interview with NBC U TV Distribution EVP Frances Manfredi will clear things up.