The Walt Disney Company today announced that it is joining NBC and News Corp (owners of the Fox channels) by taking a stake in the internet TV service Hulu.

The deal will see full-length episodes of popular shows like ABC's Lost, Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty on the streaming website, which is available to US-based internet users only.

Disney will also be sharing some shows from the Disney channel and library feature films, although not sports content from its subscription-based ESPN channel nor its fiercely protected classic animated movies.

"Disney has sought to meet the constantly evolving viewing habits of our consumers, and today's Hulu announcement is the next important step in that ongoing journey," said Robert Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company.

CBS goes it alone

The announcement means that, of the mass-market free-to-air terrestrial broadcasters in the US, only CBS has yet to jump through the Hulu hoop.

It's good news all round at Hulu this week, as comScore figures released on Tuesday show that it overtook Yahoo! sites in volume of videos served to US viewers for the first time.

With 380,000 shows viewed in March, Hulu lags behind Fox Interactive Media with 437,000 videos and a long way behind YouTube's nearly 6 million video clips.

However, as most YouTube videos are very short, it's perhaps more interesting to look at overall viewer numbers, where Hulu's 41,000 unique viewers aren't so far behind YouTube's 100,000.

Via Digital Daily.