Disney made a major announcement today. One that I think has huge implications for the future of TV, particularly local TV which depends heavily on network programming. (Disclosure: I work in the New Media division of a local TV station.)

Disney is joining NBC Universal and News Corp (NBC & Fox) on Hulu. Here is the text of the e-mail alert I received about this move:

The Walt Disney Co. is joining fellow multimedia giants NBC Universal and News Corp. as stakeholders and providers of content to the growing TV Web site. Disney is promising to distribute a host of programming via the service, including such ABC staples as Lost, Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty.

I don’t know about you, but I see this as a big deal. Now, I know that not everyone watches TV online, but a heck of a lot of people do, and with more and more popular shows becoming available on Hulu, habits are surely to change. I’ll admit, Hulu is like a TV programming buffet and once you spend time there, you are more than likely to return. This is where it’s all headed.

More from the release:

“Hulu, quite simply, now has the best premium content on the web,” said Peter Chernin, president and COO, News Corp. “With three major networks and over 150 leading content providers providing content, combined with the best video user interface anywhere on the web, Hulu offers consumers the finest premium online video experience available today.”

Think about it, the DVR has saved our busy lives. Some people don’t even know when their favorite shows actually air and depend solely on the DVR to record them for later viewing. So again, we know where this is going.

The opportunity I see here is in the building online communities. If you weren’t already convinced that online use would continue to explode, perhaps this does the job. And with all of these new folks spending more and more time online, the pool for community members and those interested in joining communities grows exponentially.

So put a good number of your eggs in the online community basket. And figure out how you can start building communities or using your expertise to help others because the demand will be there.

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