At last, the online-video joint venture between NBC Universal and News Corp., long ridiculed for its lack of a name other than "NewCo," has an official moniker, and a website, Hulu. It also has a $100 million investment, besides the backing of its parent companies, from Providence Equity Partners; a CEO, former executive Jason Kilar; and fancy offices in Los Angeles. What it still lacks, of course, is a shot in hell at competing with YouTube.

Kilar himself, in explaining the name, hints at the problem:

Our hope is that Hulu will embody our (admittedly ambitious) never-ending mission, which is to help you find and enjoy the world's premier content when, where and how you want it.

So, is Hulu a destination site, like YouTube? A video search engine, like AOL's Truveo or Google Video? An online licensing and distribution arm of its big-media parents? Or all of these things at once? If finding a name was this hard for Hulu, just imagine what actually conducting business under it will be like.

The Hulu site says that it will start a private beta "in October." On NewTeeVee, Om Malik reports that as "October 2008." I'm not sure if that's a typo for "2007", or if Malik actually meant it. But I suspect he has the date closer to the truth.