Venu, Hulu, Roku, Vudu

Streaming services have a name type, you might say...
Disney, Fox and WBD Unveil Name of Sports-Streaming Venture: Venu Sports
The joint venture of Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery to create a sports streaming bundle has an official name -- Venu Sports.

Well, it could have been worse. It could have been named 'StreamSaver'.

Disney, Fox, and Warner Bros Discovery are lucky that Comcast (amazingly somehow with the sign off of both Apple and Netflix) unveiled the name of their bundle yesterday. Because there was no topping it. Nothing can be worse than 'StreamSaver'. It's impossible.

Still, the new, sort of random, triumvirate of sports tried. "Venu Sports" is a pretty weird name. First and foremost, it's mere inches away from being "Venus Ports". Second, I thought I had seen the name Venu before, and it turns out I have: it's the name of a Garmin smartwatch. Focused on fitness. You know what else is often associated with fitness? Sports. Garmin is presumably not going to love this.

Third, the "u" in the name obviously harkens back to Hulu, which is the joke everyone was making when this mashup was announced:

When the joint venture was announced, some had jokingly dubbed it “Spulu,” a mash-up of “sports” and “Hulu,” which had originally been formed as a JV among TV broadcasters.

Perhaps (hopefully) that call back is on purpose. What has four letters and ends in "u"? Well, a lot of dumb startup names, presumably. And Hulu. But also Roku. And Vudu!1 And now Venu too. Don't forget Fubo. Oh wait, that has a 'u' as the second letter out of the four. Totally different.2

Venu will definitely not cause any confusion with Xenu, the... well, I'll just let Wikipedia do the work here:

Xenu is a figure in the Church of Scientology's secret "Advanced Technology", a sacred and esoteric teaching. According to the "Technology", Xenu was the extraterrestrial ruler of a "Galactic Confederacy" who brought billions of his people to Earth (then known as "Teegeeack") in DC-8-like spacecraft 75 million years ago, stacked them around volcanoes, and killed them with hydrogen bombs. Official Scientology scriptures hold that the thetans (immortal spirits) of these aliens adhere to humans, causing spiritual harm.

Moving on...

"Venu" also draws to mind the word "venue" since that is also, of course, often associated with sporting events. So this will naturally lead to confusion in how to pronounce the word. I'm only assuming it's VEE-NEW, not VENN-U.3

Perhaps it's as simple as: they already owned the domain:4

The venture also launched a new website at A notice at the bottom of the landing page says, “Launch is conditional on receiving regulatory approval and is expected for Fall 2024. This site is owned and operated by a subsidiary of FOX Corporation.” The three companies also noted that the JV is still pending the “finalization of definitive agreements amongst the parties.”

We've been told from the get-go that this entire thing was being driven by Disney, yet Fox owns the site and that site indicates the operation is a subsidiary of Fox? Weird.

Also weird, calling it "Venu Sports", which sort of implies there will be other non-sports-focused Venus. Oh shit, see what I did there? Total accident, I swear!5

More broadly, I remain mildly confused by the whole endeavor. I understand the desire for a sports bundle, of course. But it's not a full sports bundle and it's not even a full NFL bundle, with many of those games not only on not-included CBS, but now on not-included Amazon and Netflix as well.

It's stated to be a bundle for "sports fans outside of the traditional pay TV ecosystem" but how many of those are there really? Maybe a lot, it's an honest question. But it feels like anyone really into sports is probably already in that ecosystem. So instead this would seem to be a way to get those folks to cancel cable which, well, is a weird thing for ESPN to want! They, famously, are the single biggest beneficiary of the cable bundle. Sure, it's collapsing, but they've spent the past decade trying not to quicken that decline. To the point where the stand-along ESPN service still isn't even coming until late 2025!

Speaking of, when that other sports streaming service comes, what joy it will bring with even more confusion in terms of what game is on which service. And even just which of Disney's own myriad services and bundles you should sign up for.

Venu Sports will be made available directly to consumers via a new app, the companies said. Subscribers will also have the ability to bundle the product, including with Disney+, Hulu or Max.

Disney+ + Hulu - Hulu + Live TV (because Venu presumably will have those games, though not the CBS ones) + Max + Venu. Makes total sense.

1 Well, before its own dumb rebrand, anyway.

2 At least DAZN, as silly as that name is -- DA ZONE! -- didn't go with DAZU. Still stuck to four letters, though.

3 Name aside, the logo is... fine. A bit generic, but it does look "sporty". Characters slanted as if in motion. A lot of curves. The red lettering also calls back to ESPN, but that's also weird since again, this famously is not ESPN. Or even ESPNU, because every service must have a 'u' at the end.

4 Oddly, doesn't seem to be resolving at the moment, but hey, it's not like they were planning some splashy unveil today or anything.

5 But really, it's going to be weird referring to "Venu's" coverage...