While the Comcast Cap aftershock still lingers on the internets, enthusiasm for Web TV continues to grow. Hulu announced today its Fall Premiere lineup guide. The intriguing aspect of this news is that several series debuts and season premieres will appear on the site a week prior to their network broadcast air date and many of the other shows will appear the day after. This is not the first time a show has debuted online, however this is a first for any of the big four broadcast networks and is unprecedented when considering the increased buzz and ratings boost it could provide shows like Knight Rider and Lipstick Jungle.
Hulu is not the only one making Web TV waves. as Warner Brothers announced last week the launch of TheWB.com. At its inception the main content will feature programs that appeared on the former WB network, but will also include non-WB shows like Friends and The OC. Want something new, yet slightly familiar? September 8 is the debut of Sorority Fever, the first of several new shows exclusive to the site, and stars Web series veteran Jessica Rose, better known as lonelygirl15. TheWB.com also includes an impressive video search and social features that allow users to legally modify and embed clips as well as share through Facebook.
There is great hope and expectations for Web TV as more and more high quality content and corporate investment head online, but both Fast Company and the New York Times have recently come out with cautionary tales of the struggles facing new Web series. This Fall and the early part of 2009 could be the tipping point for Web TV and Web series. There is a lot riding on the success of the Web series from TheWB.com and NBC’s Gemini Division.
In questionably related online tech TV news, CNet has officially rolled out its new site design that includes CNet TV, which is an impressive example of a traditional web based news entity integrating video to enhance its overall offering. Buzz Out Loud even included my commentary on the new design in episode 796.