The big fuss on NBC’s chosen name for its much awaited YouTube rival, Hulu, has still not died down. And I don’t think it’s going to die down anytime soon.
Towards the end of August, CEO Jason Kilar, announced the launch of Hulu.com, after five months of being simply known as NBC’s “New Site”. Kilar did not do much explaining as to the origin of the name but simply stated in the site’s official release that they picked Hulu because it’s “short, easy to spell, easy to pronounce, and rhymes with itself.” Furthermore, he said that “Hulu strikes us as an inherently fun name, one that captures the spirit of the service weâ€™re building.”
A lot of us would have just let it pass and watch from the sidelines how Kilar’s team would pull it off. After all, Hulu.com is still in private beta and has not laid down its aces just yet. Then again, that was before we knew what “Hulu” means in different translations, and that in Swahili, it means “cease and desist”.
The raised eyebrows following the announcement of Hulu.com should have been warned them enough. Apparently, a small internet publishing firm called Lulu Enterprises took NBC’s naming Hulu an unfair play. Filing a trademark infringement lawsuit against Hulu, Lulu’s founder Bob Young complains that “widespread consumer confusion will occur and Lulu will be irreparably harmed.â€ Team Hulu declined to comment as of the moment.
Now, Lulu vs. Hulu is up on the courts while the rest of the web awaits. Is the Swahili translation of Hulu really prophetic? Is this the point where NBC decides to let Hulu “cease and desist” and rename this much-awaited online video venture?