The Weird History of Hulu.com

Hulu 1999
Hulu.com 1999

Today we know Hulu.com as a site to stream movies and TV shows but it was not always that way.

Hulu.com first appeared in 1999 as a personal blog owned by Amy Hung. Back in 1999 Myspace had yet to appear, so if you wanted to share photos with family a site like this was needed. Over the next eight years Amy randomly updated the site with photos of her family and friends.Amy’s last post was likely on May 18, 2007, when she added some photos. Over the next few months nothing happened with the site and, suddenly, it was just dark. Sometime during this time NBC contacted Amy Hung and purchased the site for an undisclosed amount.

Hulu2007
Hulu.com May 2007

NBC quickly went to work and on October 29, 2007, Hulu.com relaunched as a place to sign up for the private beta that we now know as Hulu, the video streaming service. At the time Hulu was a joint venture with AOL, Comcast, Facebook, MSN, Myspace, and Yahoo! as the “initial distribution partners.”NBC was one of the first major content distributors to join the Hulu deal with Fox quickly following suit. (Note: This was two years before Comcast merged with NBC.)

Hulu2007Oct
Hulu.com October 2007

Maybe as a throwback to the original site owner, Hulu used to list the meaning of Hulu on their site as the Chinese word hulu (葫蘆), which is a calabash, or gourd. IT is belived that the women who first registered Hulu picked the name from that Chines Proverb.

From the old Hulu.com site:

…it is used in an ancient Chinese proverb that describes the hulu as the holder of precious things. It literally translates to “gourd,” and in ancient times, the Hulu was hollowed out and used to hold precious things.

So in the end Hulu may have one of the strangest website histories of any of the major streaming services. It is also a interesting tale of you never know. Having a weird domain name may some day make you rich…

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