Well, I watch videos pretty regularly on both YouTube and Hulu, so the first thing that came to mind when I knew we would be comparing the video watching experience between the two, was the difference in…How do I say it? Professionalism, Commercialism, Uniformity? Essentially, Hulu is highly regulated in the content that it appears, in how they let you watch videos, how advertisments are experienced. The video quality is excellent. Youtube is a lot more variable in terms of all these things; particiuarly how and if the content is regulated, and the extent to which Youtube controls what is posted and what isn’t.
I watched an episode of Modern Family on Hulu and a video of Florence + The Machine performing “Shake it Out” on X-Factor UK on YouTube. My expectations were met. When I began my episode of Modern Family I was given the option to watch one long extended-form commercial and then watch the episode straight through without interruption, or to proceed with regular “commercial breaks”. I obviously selected the former, muted my hulu for 3 minutes and un-paused my itunes. Had I chosen the latter option, watching Modern Family would have been very much like watching it on a TV, with commercial breaks from big name sponsors. As an interesting note, Hulu also has a bar at the top of the screen asking if the ad is relevant to you. A great example of how the internet hones in on our interests to market more specifically to us. On YouTube, I actually experienced zero advertising before, after, at the bottom of the screen…while watching the performance. I watched my video in peace. After the video, and along the sides, I was simply provided with links to similar videos.
The different video viewing experiences between the two sites I think captures that they are run quite differently; by a large network with lots of regulations, versus more user-based.