The man in charge of Hulu's international business has admitted that there are still huge obstacles to the service arriving in the UK, but insists that the US VOD giant is still keen to make the leap into new markets.

Currently Hulu only operates in the US, where it runs content from its founding partners Fox News Corp and NBC Universal, as well as ABC which signed up at a later date.

However, plans to come to Europe and the UK have floundered, with partnerships over content not forthcoming.

Not technological

Speaking at the IP&TV World Forum 2011, Johannes Larcher – senior vice president for international – admitted that the barrier was not technological but entirely down to getting hold of the right TV programmes and films needed to make a splash.

"We are currently a US only business but we are interested in expanding into multiple markets like Europe and Asia," said Larcher.

"The biggest problem is not the technology [which] has been built by a sophisticated engineering team from the ground up.

"So bringing the product here is not the problem, the problem is access to content.

"As well as our three main partners we also have 250 other partners, so we have deep relationships which have been very positive and satisfied with Hulu.

"We can leverage part of that in international markets as well but the biggest challenge for us is in expanding access [to content].

So on day one when we come to UK, and I'm not saying we are coming to the UK, content has to be expanded to provide TV and feature films that make the service wow the audience

"And unless we see a way to secure that content, it's very difficult to enter a market."

Slow progress

Hulu was originally slated to make a relatively quick move across the Atlantic to the UK, but the company quickly ran into major problems in securing content.

Not only are the terrestrial broadcasters with the most watched programmes – like BBC and ITV – already well established in the market with their own players, but major broadcasters like Sky and Virgin are keen to pay to ring-fence the key US content for their own on-demand services.