The name should perhaps be changed to Saturday Night Streamed, suggests the Times' Brian Stelter, and he kinda has a point: The most memorable SNL sketches of the season were likely seen by more people online than on broadcast television. Tina Fey's debut impersonation of Sarah Palin was viewed 14 million times on Hulu.com, compared with 10 million people estimated to have seen it on TV. Numbers for her follow-up impersonation were similarly lopsided. We love the way NBC has used Hulu, but the whole thing looks like a trap.
Sure, the site features high-quality video and full-length episodes, a big improvement over the situation just a couple of years ago, when the networks seemed to be ignoring the Web. And as Stelter notes, there are way fewer commercials — about a quarter as much time given over to ads, judging from The Office and Family Guy.
Hulu, which is owned by NBC and Fox, says it's keeping advertising brief on purpose. But you just know the network suits will eventually add more and more advertisements , which — key point — you won't be able to fast-forward through. Hopefully you won't have ditched your DVR by then!
In the meantime: Did you know Hulu added full-length Daily Show episodes? That's right: One more reason to let your guard down. A sample: