CBS/Hulu conflict lends power to third party sites

This week, NBCU/News Corp. joint venture video service Hulu removed its content from CBS Interactive's TV.com without specifying a motive, just like it did with Boxee earlier this week.

While content producers affiliated with CBS and Hulu two are busy sorting out who's entitled to the other's content, third party sites continue to offer content from both services.

Hulu issued a statement on Wednesday that the content removal was an exercise of its contractual rights with TV.com, and that discussions with the site will not be disclosed. CBS Interactive followed this with a statement clarifying that the content was not removed because of any violations of its agreement with Hulu, and that it was evaluating its next steps.

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The Wall Street Journal called it the beginning of a "Web video war," likely because of the perceived dissonance between the two.

However, the main reason Hulu does not have CBS content on its own site is largely due to player incompatibility, so CBS shows are still cataloged there, but contain a button labeled "watch at CBS," which opens the network's player. Other video sites, such as Time Warner's Veoh which carry both Hulu and CBS content carry the same stipulation. Sites such as Comcast's Fancast, however, play all content within the same browser window.

Fancast and Veoh, meanwhile, are rumored to be in discussions with cable network owners to get cable content exclusively to Comcast and Time Warner broadband subscribers, effectively re-establishing their cable TV boundaries over IP.

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