An online video site backed by media companies NBC Universal and News Corp. took a step closer to launching on Wednesday, saying it will call itself "Hulu" and begin a trial run in October. Little had been heard of the venture since it was originally announced in March in response to the rapid growth of YouTube, an amateur video-sharing site owned by Internet search leader Google Inc. While NBC and other programmers allow some clips from their shows to appear on YouTube, others have a combative relationship with the video-sharing site, saying it encourages the improper reuse of their copyrighted video without compensation to its creators.
The new site being sponsored by NBC and News Corp. is intended to provide an alternative to watching TV programming online, in a way that's supported by advertising and endorsed by copyright holders. It's not clear what, if anything, the new name of the site, Hulu, refers to. In a note on the site, the head of the venture, former Amazon.com Inc. executive Jason Kilar, said the word was "short, easy to spell, pronounce and rhymes with itself," as well as "an inherently fun name, one that captures the spirit of the service we're building." The site will initially feature programming from Fox shows like "24" and "Family Guy" as well as NBC shows like "30 Rock" and "Las Vegas."