Posted by Dan Lyons on Feb 26, 2009 in Tech | 6 comments
My latest Newsweek column is here.
Hulu may have “better content” – but you can’t trust that the content you see there one day won’t be gone the next. The problem with the experiment of Hulu is that they’re still at the beck-and-call of the content owners, who are a finicky bunch (see the boxee mess).
Old media doesn’t seem to have learned anything from TiVo or the mass piracy that’s going on. Good content isn’t enough – it needs to be reliable – available when and where consumers want it.
Hulu does have some good content but I don’t think they have it completely figured out yet. Sure they are generating revenue from advertising but it seems like half the time the ads are public service announcements. I have my doubts that they are making much money.
Until Hulu figures out how to get their content to the television its not going to be a money maker for the owners..
“We’re sorry, currently our video library can only be streamed within the United States.”
That’s weird. I happened to be reading this article in a paper copy of Newsweek that was lying around. I didn’t even see the byline, but it reminded me of this awesome Fake Steve rant:
Here’s what I tell them. Friends, you run a television network. Now let’s think about this. What the fuck is a television network? It’s a system of affiliates designed to help carry a broadcast signal across the wide continent of America on airwaves and into television sets owned by millions of people. In essence, you are in the distribution business. In the second half of the twentieth century you had the great good fortune to be granted a kind of limited monopoly over the distribution of a very valuable commodity. There were only so many airwaves, hence only so many networks. There were way more advertisers than there were channels to carry their advertising. So you sat there with your choke-hold on the garden hose, controlling the flow of programming and getting fatter and fatter and fatter.
It was a wonderful system. For you anyway. Except that it had one huge flaw. Which is that for you guys, the middlemen, to get rich, you needed to fuck over the people at both ends of the value chain — the consumers who had no choice in what they watched and spent years being fed mountains of dog shit, and the producers of content who were at your mercy and had to negotiate with this tiny number of networks who operated, let’s be honest here, as a kind of cartel.
It’s over now. Your business model was a historical anomaly built on scarcity of a valuable resource and the willingness of a small group of network operators to not slit each other’s throats and to collaborate in exploiting the content producers. Sort of like the Five Families in New York. Wars are bad for business.
Rest of it here: http://fakesteve.blogspot.com/2007/09/boring-rant.html
I’ve been impressed with Hulu. Any site that carries all of ‘Rocky IV’, the corniest of the Rocky series, online for free, is great in my book.
I used to mock Hulu, preferred iTunes. Then I missed an episode of Battlestar Galactica, and didn’t feel like paying for the download.
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