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Google Moves to Challenge Hulu, Which Queues Up for iPad

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIF.: Google is boosting the commercial quotient of its online video business in the direction of, while that site is claiming its first profit and eyeing an iPad presence. The multiple maneuvers transpired over the last few days.

Google picked up San Francisco-based Episodic in a deal announced last week. Financial terms were not disclosed. Episodic publishes videos, similarly to Google’s YouTube, but it additionally generates viewing metrics, enables ad insertion and accommodates credit card transactions. It also distributes video-on-demand to any Web-enabled device and provides adaptive bitrate playback.

Several online publications noted Google hasn’t done a lot with YouTube since buying it for $1.65 billion almost four years ago. The “Broadcast Yourself” Web site does get a huge amount of traffic, however. Incorporating Episodic’s capabilities with YouTube’s traffic could make for a “Hulu killer,” BNet notes. is a collaboration of NBC, ABC and Fox, where those networks and others distribute their content online. The site recently turned its first profit, and traffic is growing. Video views reached a high in January of 23.5 million. YouTube nonetheless stomped it with 93 million views, up 50 percent from the year before. Hulu splits revenue with its content partners while YouTube is primarily an exposure site. Yet Hulu’s payouts weren’t sufficient to keep Viacom on board with “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report.” Both were pulled from in February and expected to show up on Apple’s iPad--possibly alongside Hulu.

Apple’s new portable tablet computer, the iPad, went on sale over Easter weekend. The device, with models running between $500 and $830, is an iPhone writ large, with a 9.7-inch LED backlit display. As many as 700,000 units sold opening weekend, PC World reports. App downloads exceeded 1 million; the list of dedicated iPad apps is 1,000 and growing, Apple says.

Online movie house Netflix just launched one. Hulu is said to have an app on tap. CBS is reportedly tweaking its media player to work on the devices. ABC’s player is up via a synch option with iPhone and iPod apps.

For more on the latest Apple computing craze, check out “iPad owners’ six biggest complaints” at The Week. The gear-geek Web site Gizmodo has a list of “Essential iPad Apps” that includes the ABC and Netflix media players and interfaces from The Wall Street Journal, the NBA and Major League Baseball among others.