Shakespeare asked “What’s in a name.” JFK quipped “Forgive your enemies but never forget their name.” Barry Bonds said “It’s not the name that makes the player it’s the player.”
However wide the sources one looks to for wisdom, in a media world, it’s almost universal, and hard to ignore, that there is something in a name. Today, now, finally, NBC Universal and News Corporation have named their upcoming, and much hyped, Internet video site.
The most famous John Doe of the Internet video world had been known only as NewCo (or Clown Co to pundits.) Today, it was branded as Hulu.
The site, which aims to be a YouTube rival, has been generously funded with monies from both News Corporation and NBC Universal. A private equity stake was also sold earlier this month to Providence Equity Partners. (The valuation of that investment created a hefty $1billion company ($100m bought 10%), even as yet unlaunched).
So why Hulu? According to the preliminary website they’ve launched, it “is short, easy to spell, easy to pronounce, and rhymes with itself. Subjectively, Hulu strikes us as an inherently fun name, one that captures the spirit of the service we’re building. Our hope is that Hulu will embody our (admittedly ambitious) never-ending mission, which is to help you find and enjoy the world’s premier content when, where and how you want it.”
It probably also doesn’t hurt, that one translation of the word Hulu in Hawaian is feather (That fits given NBC’s famous Peacock logo). An alternate meaning of “esteemed” isn’t bad either. On the other hand, the word can also mean “body hair” and a “fishhook.” Critics and comics may have some fun with that.
Jason Kilar, a former executive from Amazon, was named to run the joint venture in July. The company is on track for a limited beta launch in October. They are taking requests for invitations now. Hulu also aim to be ready with programming for partners AOL, Comcast, MSN, MySpace and Yahoo by the same time period.