Great apology note from Hulu’s CEO [via DF]:
This note, however, is not about the fact that episodes of ’’It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’’ were taken down. Rather, this note is to communicate to our users that we screwed up royally with regards to how we handled this specific content removal and to apologize for our lack of strong execution. We gave effectively no notice to our users that these ’’Sunny’’ episodes would be coming off the service. We handled this in precisely the opposite way that we should have. We believe that our users deserve the decency of a reasonable warning before content is taken down from the Hulu service. Please accept our apologies.
Given the very reasonable user feedback that we have received on this topic (we read every twitter, email and post), we have just re-posted all of the episodes that we had previously removed. I’d like to point out to our users that the content owner in this case – FX Networks – was very quick to say yes to our request to give users reasonable advance notice here, despite the fact that it was the Hulu team that dropped the ball…
The team at Hulu is doing our best to make lemonade out of lemons on this one, but it’s not easy given how poorly we executed here. Please know that we will do our best to learn from this mistake such that the Hulu user experience benefits in other ways down the road.
Mistakes happen. It’s how you handle them that really matters.
Related: Hulu figures out how to bring TV online [SvN]
Michaelon 16 Jan 09
I like the startup culture NBC and Fox managed to create. They must insulate the Hulu team pretty well from the networks.
Jay Owenon 16 Jan 09
This is definitely the way to handle things. Everyone makes mistakes and as a result, most people are willing to accept a real and honest apology along with a plan to “make things right again.”
Sometimes the best answer is just, “You are right, we screwed up. We are sorry and we will make things right…”
Too often, people try to make excuses and just make a bad situation worse.
Matt Radelon 16 Jan 09
Hulu does it proper. It’s no wonder that they left Joost in the digital dust (though Joost did quite alot to shoot themselves in the foot). This is a great example of how successful honesty and straightspeak can be. Bravo, hulu. Bravo.
Anthony Brownon 16 Jan 09
This needs to happen more frequently! It’s this type of candid nature that really earns trust from users.
Steven Fisheron 16 Jan 09
Not bad, but way too wordy.
Danny Cohenon 16 Jan 09
A similar message from the LA Korean BBQ Taco Truck about how they are dealing with exposure and press that results in a poor experience for their customers.
BillTon 16 Jan 09
In other words, it’s not the crime, it’s the coverup.
mike ashworthon 17 Jan 09
You may not have spotted this however they didnt actually say “sorry”.
I apologise, does not carry the same weight, in my opinion.
Ian Andrew Bellon 17 Jan 09
Mike, you’re splitting hairs.
This was good handling of customers by the CEO and also a great (but subtle) spank of whomever the guilty parties were within Hulu.
amion 17 Jan 09
yes. there is a big difference between “I apologize” and “I’m sorry.” try saying each at a funeral.
Torleyon 17 Jan 09
I ‘laud this candidness.
Different people, including from various cultures, use similar words in different ways. I’ve known some Thai who use “I apologize” because they view it to be more honorable. Some of my chums say “I’m sowwy”. As long as they’re expressing themselves earnestly, this is what I care about.
And to offset any stilted formality, this letter was not as rote a read as the robosorries I’ve seen come out of some corporations — big words, no heart.
@ami: There is no need to apologize for a life well-lived.
Jenson 17 Jan 09
Apologize is the right word. It implies acknowledgment of fault. Sorry is just feeling bad. Maybe both are appropriate, but the right thing is to acknowledge the mistake. What he feels doesn’t matter.
dredreon 17 Jan 09
why is there no discussion about the financial relationship between the apology and the legal agreements between hulu and the owners of the media being distributed, are we being lead to believe that copyright violations are morally virtuous?>>>
Danon 17 Jan 09
“I’ve made a huge mistake.”
ryanon 17 Jan 09
ryanon 17 Jan 09
[heart] arrested development :)
Zoophon 17 Jan 09
Sorry for the spam but www.veoh.com/channels/RedGreen
Archangelon 17 Jan 09
Jaysus! The Bush administration could have used the CEO of Hulu. If the onslaught of Bush screw-ups were handled this directly and honestly his approval ratings would have been higher than the miserable 22%, he had leaving office. It is refreshing to hear the truth about a mistake. This CEO understands that behaving with integrity this way, only adds credibility to his company, something that Bush et all were too stupid to comprehend.
John Masonon 17 Jan 09
It’ll all come out in the wash, its all good!
Alexon 17 Jan 09
At least always sunny’s are back. Don’t take them down – 99% of TV is shit, take something else down
Matthewon 17 Jan 09
Credibility is replacing creativity as the center of all effective marketing.
Mike Caneon 17 Jan 09
Bravo to hulu. They learned how to do a proper apology: http://mikecane2008.wordpress.com/2008/12/11/businesses-smugness-lost-customers/
DayManon 18 Jan 09
I find it hilarious that Sunny fans can act like such cry babies.
“THEY DIDN’T REALLY SAY SORRY… boo hoo”. at least they responded to their customers – the internet is still new folks and people haven’t figured it out yet.
derekon 18 Jan 09
why take off sunny at all? Word of mouth keeps creating new fans and with less and less people watching TV (or buying DVDs in todays economic troubles) it doesn’t make any sense to squash a venue for potential fans and old fans to keep watching a great show over and over….
dillonon 18 Jan 09
What about other series like Babylon 5? Hulu used to have seasons 3-5 online and they took them down. I can understand the issues with newer shows like “Always Sunny”. They may have licensing deals with other stations or networks who are still currently broadcasting the episodes. But, when it comes to stuff like B5 which is 10 years old. Why not put them all online?
otcpdxon 18 Jan 09
“I like the startup culture NBC and Fox managed to create.”
“Hulu does it proper.”
I hate to say it, as I do appreciate the refreshing tone of Hulu’s CEO, but the fact that they gave their users a reach around via a blog post doesn’t change the fact that due to antiquated copyright laws you still got buttraped. Hulu not giving “reasonable warning” is not the problem, it the power of lobby groups supported by NBC and Fox and the influence they have over copyright law is the problem. Anybody who’s feeling fuzzy about Hulu should read this, and then write their elected officials about getting some laws on the books about copyright that were written in the same century as modern electrical service, much less computers and digital distribution.
Arwinon 18 Jan 09
This guy went so much farther than most companies go by acknolweding his mistake and writing up something at least half-decent (to say the least) to convey his apologies, and you’re going to argue over whether he should have used the word ‘apologize’ or ‘sorry’? Really? REALLY? Come on.
Coreyon 18 Jan 09
Agreed. This is a very ‘anti-draconian’ way to respond to the firestorm: after all Hell hath no fury than a despondent audience scorned :) Now, if I actually watched ASIP I might have a less objective opinion…to be fair.
Mike Prasadon 18 Jan 09
Agreed that everyone makes mistakes. Its great that Hulu was upfront and offered a solution. @Danny Cohen, funny you should mention Kogi BBQ, I’m their brand and new media guy. Glad people were understanding!
SLEZEon 18 Jan 09
It’s great that the guy confronted the issue in a nice, transparent way but it just goes to show why online sites like hulu will never be able to compete with the direct downloading of shows off of BitTorrent or Limewire/Kazaa/Morpheus. The Hulu’s of the internet will always be able to take away your Gumble-to-Gumble.
Fat Free Milkon 18 Jan 09
They’re cool. No apology is necessary. I like the site. Thank you, Hulu. Thank you all. Now give me more. Everything, Thanks.
Donjuanito909on 18 Jan 09
Hulu will make up with lots more shows and movies for 2009!
DavidEon 18 Jan 09
I like hulu, but I wish they’d put more effort into fixing the more obvious problems on their site. They seem to ignore the bug reports and they skimp on the information they give to the users.
Degon 19 Jan 09
Excellent apology. I’m loving Hulu more and more. I hope CBS adds their catalog to the site soon!
Tyleron 19 Jan 09
Michaelon 19 Jan 09
CBS isn’t going to add their catalog because Hulu is owned by NBC and Fox.
Jeffon 19 Jan 09
People are mad because Hulu took down some episodes without giving proper warning to their users? I don’t get it. How in the world does anyone manage to get bent about this? Who cares?
Arik Joneson 19 Jan 09
Can someone dunce cap mike ashworth. Please?!
Jim the Beamon 20 Jan 09
I do not know why.. but this apology just MAKES me like them more. Jeff… not everyone has to be like you. ..can you please apologize ?
Reggieon 21 Jan 09
Everybody makes mistakes. How we get up is more of an indication of character than how we fall. Admitting your mistakes and apologizing shows integrity. I applaud Hulu’s CEO for doing so, and in a straightforward lightly padded way.
This discussion is closed.