Michael Learmonth of Silicon Valley Insider has some great news for fans of Hulu, the online video site started by NBC and Fox to stream full episodes from their various properties.  In a post entitled "Hulu Beating CNN, Turner, Still A Fraction Of YouTube" Mr. Learmonth says...

Hulu, which didn't formally open for business until March, is now the 8th-largest video site in the U.S.

That's according to new stats from Nielsen, which reports that the JV between Fox and NBC racked racked up some  105 million video streams in July, up from 80 million streams in May.

He also provides this break down of the numbers...

videocensus-july

I am a huge Hulu fan so let me get that out of the way first.

Having admitted that I don't think these numbers tell the whole story.  A couple things to consider...

1.  The report quotes "Total Streams" but doesn't give any indication of what that means.  This is important because Hulu streams largely entire TV shows with 4 or 5 ads embeded into each while all competitors above it tend to deal mostly in short clips with 1 ad at best.

2.  Hulu monetizes 100% of their streams while others who allow for user uploads don't get anywhere near that.  Youtube, for example, is reported to only monetize 3% of their total streams putting their number at 150,727 as compared to Hulu's 105,830.  Given that and Point #1 above I think it's very possible that Hulu is actually running more ads than YouTube on a monthly basis

So it looks like Hulu is actually turning into a success which is, in my opinion, as important as news on the web gets. 

You see, Hulu was an attempt by two major studios to actually do Internet Video  right.  Hulu offers full episodes that can be embeded, shared and e-mailed just like any other type of online video.  So positive numbers are a huge thing because they mean the idea of web video is starting to prove itself. 

The theory has always been that studios should put their video out there because it will generate more money in the long run.  But up until now that's all there's been, a theory.  Hulu's success could offer substantial proof of that theory which is a huge thing.

As the business model is proven successful we'll see other studios jumping in and allowing their video "out of the box" so to speak.  Once that starts we'll begin to see a world develop where people can view, share, mashup and whatever else without having to fear copyright violations or legal action.   

In many ways Hulu is pioneering a path that all media should follow into the new age.  Allowing widespread streaming so users can determine what they enjoy and then pointing them to purchase items when they want to take them off the computer.  It's a level corporate/user harmony that the music industry should be a jealous of at this point.