Who knew? Name is Hulu



That's the long-awaited official name for News Corp. and NBC Universal's online video joint venture, previously known informally as Newsite.

The companies unveiled the name Wednesday and also said the private beta for the site will be available in October.

In a statement on Hulu.com, Jason Kilar, the joint venture's CEO, said the name has no particular significance.

Kilar wrote: "Why Hulu? Objectively, Hulu is short, easy to spell, easy to pronounce and rhymes with itself. Subjectively, Hulu strikes us as an inherently fun name, one that captures the spirit of the service we're building."

One source said that "Stash" also was considered as possible branding for the joint venture.

Announced in March, Hulu will bring News Corp., NBC and other professional video content to a stand-alone site as well as a network of affiliated sites, which includes Time Warner's AOL, News Corp.'s MySpace, Yahoo and Microsoft's MSN. The site also has partnered with Comcast, Gemstar-TV Guide and CNET.

This month it was revealed that investment firm Providence Equity will invest $100 million into the venture. The firm also will have a 10% stake in the company as well as a board seat.

Last month, former Amazon exec Kilar was named CEO.

According to several Web sources, in the Hawaiian language hulu means "feather, quill, plumage," "esteemed, choice, precious" or an "esteemed older relative." The word also appears in the names of two regions in Malaysia; in Mandarin, it translates to the calabash gourd, and it is also the name of a Swedish technology company.

Starting Wednesday, interested users can submit their e-mail address at Hulu.com to be included in an invite list for the private beta, according to Kilar's statement.