I just received an email from Andrew Kippen, a representative for Boxee who wanted to publicly respond to NBC CEO Jeff Zucker and his comments to the US Congress concerning the rocky Hulu & Boxee past. Jeff Zucker was recently on C-SPAN discussing the Comcast & NBC merger, when Virginia Rep. Congressman, Rick Boucher, asked “Did Hulu Block Access for the Boxee users to the Hulu programs?” Mr. Zucker explained that Boxee had illegally taken the Hulu content without any business deal. He went on to explain that Hulu had always been open to making a content deal with Boxee. You can view the full C-SPAN footage here: C-SPANArchives.org.
Andrew Kippen, a representative of Boxee sent out a press release with some statements to clarify the remarks Mr. Zucker made on C-SPAN. Andrew’s remarks are below.
I’d like to set the record straight regarding Boxee’s access to Hulu. Boxee uses a web browser to access Hulu’s content – just like Firefox or Internet Explorer. Boxee users click on a link to Hulu’s website and the video within that page plays. We don’t “take” the video. We don’t copy it. We don’t put ads on top of it. The video and the ads play like they do on other browsers or on Hulu Desktop. And it certainly is legal to do so.
Above, Mr. Zucker says the original decision was made by Hulu’s management. That is correct, but as Jason Kilar (Hulu’s CEO) wrote in his post, the request came from NBC. “Our content providers requested that we turn off access to our content via the Boxee product, and we are respecting their wishes.”
Mr. Zucker says they always said they are open to negotiations. That has not been our experience, but at this point, we will take Mr. Zucker’s offer at face value and will contact him. We are eager to work with both Comcast and NBCU to bring more content on more devices to our users. We believe the Internet represents a great opportunity for content owners and we hope that current artificial barriers put on distribution over the Internet will be taken down.
I can personally vouch for what Andrew said above, Boxee did nothing more than link directly to the Hulu content, including the ads. While it was originally removed, the new Boxee beta has brought back Hulu content. The new method of displaying Hulu content is nothing more than the ingenious use of an internal browser and automatic full screening.