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Comedy Central's 'The Daily Show' and 'The Colbert Report' leaving Hulu

Meg James
Los Angeles Times (MCT)

LOS ANGELES — Hulu's losing two of its biggest attractions.

In a bid to better capitalize on the popularity of its shows, Comedy Central has decided to no longer provide episodes of "The Daily Show," and "The Colbert Report" to the video Web site and keep them on the sites they own.

Hulu said Tuesday negotiations with Comedy Central broke down. The two companies could not agree on a revenue split for advertising generated by the shows, according to a person familiar with the situation.

While Hulu has lots of broadcast content on its site, getting cable shows has proven to be a stickier proposition. That's because cable networks such as Comedy Central get hundreds of millions of dollars from cable and satellite distributors. Those guys don't like it when the shows they pay good money are offered elsewhere for free.

In addition, Comedy Central is owned by Viacom Inc., which competes with owners of Hulu. The Web site is owned by News Corp., NBC Universal, Walt Disney Co. and Providence Equity Partners.

"In the past 21 months, we've had very strong results for both Hulu and Comedy Central, in terms of the views and revenue we've generated, thanks to a couple of key trends. First, more and more of our viewers have voted with their time by making these shows a regular part of their day. And second, we've driven steadily increasing revenue per view as advertisers voted with their budgets to take advantage of innovative ad formats and very strong advertising effectiveness," Andy Forssell, Hulu senior vice president for content and distribution, wrote in a Web post entitled "Fond Farewell."

"After a series of discussions with the team at Comedy Central, though, we ultimately were unable to secure the rights to extend these shows for a much longer period of time," Forssell said. Episodes of the shows have been a key draw for the site since June 2008.

Forsell said they would no longer be available on Hulu after March 9 at midnight.

Episodes of Stewart's show and Colbert's show will continue be available on Viacom owned sites, thedailyshow.com and colbertnation.com.

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