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Disruption-Phobic Hulu Continues to Flail
Deep Pocketed Ownership Doesn't Want Real Hulu Success
by Karl Bode 02:34PM Friday Dec 21 2012
We've talked a lot about how Hulu will never truly be disruptive, given that as an extension of the cable industry -- it's designed not to be. Hulu has made a lot of silly decisions, from blocking Google TV and other devices from accessing their content (and ads), to buckling to companies like Fox and blocking consumer access to content during retransmission disputes. Hulu has also struggled with a pay Hulu tier that lacks value.

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Meanwhile, Hulu owners Disney, News Corporation and Comcast are bogged down in disputes over just what kind of half-hearted flailing Hulu should be engaged in. The the Wall Street Journal reports that News Corporation wants to ditch the free angle and go subscription only, while Disney wants to keep the free offering intact. Neither, meanwhile, want to spend much on actually acquiring new content:
quote:
While Hulu invested more than $500 million in content in 2012, its competitors are spending far more.

Netflix has committed to spend $5 billion to secure movies and programming for online streaming over the next few years, with about $2 billion of that due in the 12 months through next September. The outlet has commissioned original series like "House of Cards" as well as paid for rights to an array of Hollywood content, as has Amazon.
Hulu remains stuck in evolutionary purgatory thanks to owners who don't really want the service to disrupt the traditional cable TV apple cart. That will only get worse when part owner Comcast is allowed to vote, something temporarily blocked due to NBC acquisition conditions. It seems inevitable that Hulu stumbles around for a few more years as little more than a glorified ad for traditional TV, since that's really all the company's owners want it to be.

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ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

These companies don't want online video

For all the lip service these companies give to putting content online, that's the last place they want it. They have cable, satellite, and, to a lesser extent, broadcast TV as their revenue streams, and they're quite happy with those. If they could somehow make the Internet go away, they'd do it in a heartbeat. But they can't, so they keep offering the absolute minimum that they have to, just in case their hand is forced, and they have no choice but to embrace online distribution.

And you'd think that piracy would push them to offer viable online options, but it doesn't. Instead, they employ the strategy of trying to crush piracy with a sledgehammer while not offering any real alternatives that people might want to use, since those would involve actually getting into online distribution.

So the question is why they do this. I think part of it is that they know what's worked for them for decades, and they figure they can bend the world to their business model, no matter what anyone else wants. However, I also think another part of it is ignorance of what they're missing out on. After all, many of the people at the top of these companies are older, and I'll bet a significant number of them are slightly out of touch with what younger people want. Certainly, there are people in these companies who do get it, but, if you aren't the boss, and the boss sees no value in something, even after you've tried to explain it, then you'd often be wise to keep your opinions to yourself after that.

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

Re: These companies don't want online video

You have to remember that these are the same businesses that wanted to kill the VCR because it would encourage piracy and costs jobs. It took them a awhile to finally realize there was actually money to be made with home video.
Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1

Re: These companies don't want online video

That is why i find their crusade against the VCR so funny, in the end home video made them more money than they had ever made before in history.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

Re: These companies don't want online video

Yeah but it took them over a decade and losing in the Supreme Court to realize this. Even after the VCR won the right to exist it was still years before anyone other than video rental stores bought movies on VHS. The reason was they cost over $100. Then someone finally clued them in that they could make more money by selling them at $20 a pop to the masses than just selling them to video stores for $100.

Corehhi

join:2002-01-28
Bluffton, SC
Reviews:
·Hargray Cable
said by 88615298:

You have to remember that these are the same businesses that wanted to kill the VCR because it would encourage piracy and costs jobs. It took them a awhile to finally realize there was actually money to be made with home video.

Money to be made???? IT was a huge amount of money to be made in fact the movie industry never made so much. Rental income plus they could dump crappy movies in a video store and actually make money off of them. VCR's turned out to be the best thing ever for them.

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

Re: These companies don't want online video

said by Corehhi:

Money to be made???? IT was a huge amount of money to be made in fact the movie industry never made so much. Rental income plus they could dump crappy movies in a video store and actually make money off of them. VCR's turned out to be the best thing ever for them.

Yes we I that. That was my whole point. Just like when the VCR came out the movie/TV industry was afraid to innovate and embrace a new technology out of fear it would reduce profits. especially when the old ways were still making them money. They could have made billions more if they had embraced the VCR sooner. They are making the same mistake here.

The exception is here people have an easy alternative to getting their content even if it's not legal. And these people will be hard to get back as customers once they go that route. And these people will teach their kids that not paying for content is the way to go. The music industry has learned this hard lesson. There is whole generation that will never pay for music again. Billions were lost and billions will continue to be lost because of that mistake.

Corehhi

join:2002-01-28
Bluffton, SC
Reviews:
·Hargray Cable

Re: These companies don't want online video

said by 88615298:

said by Corehhi:

Money to be made???? IT was a huge amount of money to be made in fact the movie industry never made so much. Rental income plus they could dump crappy movies in a video store and actually make money off of them. VCR's turned out to be the best thing ever for them.

Yes we I that. That was my whole point. Just like when the VCR came out the movie/TV industry was afraid to innovate and embrace a new technology out of fear it would reduce profits. especially when the old ways were still making them money. They could have made billions more if they had embraced the VCR sooner. They are making the same mistake here.

The exception is here people have an easy alternative to getting their content even if it's not legal. And these people will be hard to get back as customers once they go that route. And these people will teach their kids that not paying for content is the way to go. The music industry has learned this hard lesson. There is whole generation that will never pay for music again. Billions were lost and billions will continue to be lost because of that mistake.

Most media is over priced which is also a problem. That's why Itunes did so well, reasonable price, easy to use still DRM problems but it worked and is profitable.

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

Re: These companies don't want online video

There is no DRM on iTunes music. many people still feel 99 cents is too much and many songs are $1.29. Also the way the music has been over the years with it's DRM and lawsuits and such many people wouldn't buy music it was 10 songs for a penny, just out of spite.

And yes the media is overpriced. They have lots of issues. Embracing online video would at least reduce the number of problems. Then they can work on the rest.
Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1

Re: These companies don't want online video

Fully embracing online video with minimal DRM or platform limiting headaches would also gain IP owners more sympathy from the tech minded people.

Right now there is a general attitude even from people who would never pirate that companies who refuse to adapt get what they deserve.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports

skeechan
Ai Otsukaholic
Premium
join:2012-01-26
AA169|170
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Clear Wireless
·Cox HSI
·Verizon FiOS

Problem is content is elsewhere

I already have Netflix and Crunchyroll and that everything I would want from Hulu, while there is lots on NF and CR that Hulu doesn't have.

And to add commercials on top of that, even if they're short, incomplete seasons, etc..there is simply nothing compelling on Hulu for free and certainly not for $8.

Eddy120876

join:2009-02-16
Bronx, NY

Re: Problem is content is elsewhere

I have all 3 and they all help me get all the shows,anime and movies i need. I do agree the commercials are a problem but nothing serious that would stop me from taking Hulu out.

nightdesigns
Gone missing, back soon
Premium
join:2002-05-31
AZ
Reviews:
·CenturyLink

Hulu Plus...Tried it...hated it...

I don't get the point of "plus", pay for service that still has commercials (like the free side), and only a very limited quantity of shows that you can watch on your TV. I don't want to watch on my computer.

Maybe if it was a couple of bucks per month, but at their price point, there are other alternatives available that are better.

Pass.
--
This Space for Rent...

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

1 recommendation

Re: Hulu Plus...Tried it...hated it...

said by nightdesigns:

I don't get the point of "plus", pay for service that still has commercials (like the free side),

You pay for cable TV and it has commercials doesn't it?
Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO

Re: Hulu Plus...Tried it...hated it...

Yes, but you are paying for cable to rebroadcast. You are not paying them for the ads as they get a little ad space as part of their agreement to rebroadcast.

See the difference there?
rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO

Re: Hulu Plus...Tried it...hated it...

But not all of your payment goes to the cable company to maintain the infrastructure. If that were true, then I'd agree with you.

We pay for "channels" that then also advertise.

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness
said by Skippy25:

Yes, but you are paying for cable to rebroadcast. You are not paying them for the ads as they get a little ad space as part of their agreement to rebroadcast.

See the difference there?

So whether or not you approve of commercials is based on how they are displayed? I think most people don't like commercials PERIOD regardless of the reason why they exist.

NotTheMama
What Would Earl Do?

join:2012-12-06
Actually, that's the primary reason why I don't have cable TV.
--
"...but ya doesn't hasta call me Johnson!"

NotTheMama
What Would Earl Do?

join:2012-12-06

1 edit
said by nightdesigns:

I don't want to watch on my computer.

You should hook your computer up to an HD-TV.

[Edit:] If your computer isn't really good for that, then you could try what I'm planning to do--get that new $200 Acer Chromebook and hook it up (for my sister for Christmas). It's one of its advertised features, so I expect it'll work well enough.
--
"...but ya doesn't hasta call me Johnson!"

jseymour

join:2009-12-11
Waterford, MI

Re: Hulu Plus...Tried it...hated it...

said by NotTheMama:

You should hook your computer up to an HD-TV.

[Edit:] If your computer isn't really good for that, then you could try what I'm planning to do--get that new $200 Acer Chromebook ...

That won't be HD, tho, either way, will it?

Jim

NotTheMama
What Would Earl Do?

join:2012-12-06

1 edit

Re: Hulu Plus...Tried it...hated it...

Well, non-Plus hulu doesn't have HD, but non-HD TVs don't have the connections for the hook up (VGA or HDMI/DVI). [Edit:] Of course, it's about the signal from the computer--which is assuredly "HD"--and not whether hulu is offering HD content.
--
"...but ya doesn't hasta call me Johnson!"
Mele20
Premium
join:2001-06-05
Hilo, HI
kudos:5

Re: Hulu Plus...Tried it...hated it...

Why do you need a computer to watch Hulu Plus HD? You just watch directly on your Samsung Smart HD TV.

NotTheMama
What Would Earl Do?

join:2012-12-06

Re: Hulu Plus...Tried it...hated it...

I don't (seeing as I don't have hulu Plus). Nor do I have a Samsung Smart HD-TV. (I saw what you did there. However, I did just get a Samsung Smart Blu-ray player--haven't played with the "smart" stuff yet.) I did try hulu Plus once, on my non-Samsung, non-Smart-but-smart-enough Sony netbox (which works great with Netflix); it could take hulu as much as a minute between going from content to commercial or vice versa. Whether it was something about hulu or about the netbox I don't know. At the time, though, a lot of shows were still "unavailable" for viewing on a TV--couldn't say how true that is now. Of all the features hulu Plus offers now, the only one that seems even a little interesting is being able to watch lots more episodes of all or mostly all(?) the shows. But the only time I ever watch hulu is to catch a recent show that I happened to miss (yep, like an always on VCR/DVR that catches everything). So, nothing really "value-added" there for me. And I hate commercials (which don't make TV "free" by the way--they just make everything we buy more expensive, so we wind up paying for it anyway).
--
"...but ya doesn't hasta call me Johnson!"

Spectral
Likes Cookies
Premium
join:2002-05-03
Salem, OR
Or something like playon streaming wireless to a roku box/wii/whatever on the tv will get you the free version of Hulu.

NotTheMama
What Would Earl Do?

join:2012-12-06

Re: Hulu Plus...Tried it...hated it...

I don't need it myself. My sister, however, is technically inept; I was going to get her a Chromebook anyway--something she can just turn on and use for browsing (no worries about updating anything etc--a "web appliance" really). Hooking it up to the HD-TV for a larger screen would happen anyway. Accessing hulu isn't the reason--it's just along for the ride. (Anyway, I like watching hulu on my computer just fine--nice big screen, good speaker system. I even like hulu's vanilla web interface better than hulu Plus on a netbox--no delay into/out of commercials.)
--
"...but ya doesn't hasta call me Johnson!"
mlcarson

join:2001-09-20
Los Alamos, NM
You can connect your computer up to your TV. You don't have to watch on a computer screen.

NotTheMama
What Would Earl Do?

join:2012-12-06

Re: Hulu Plus...Tried it...hated it...

ECHO... Echo... echo... echo

--
"...but ya doesn't hasta call me Johnson!"

spewak
R.I.P Dadkins
Premium
join:2001-08-07
Elk Grove, CA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·SureWest Internet

Re: Hulu Plus...Tried it...hated it...

said by NotTheMama:

ECHO... Echo... echo... echo

You should hook up your computer to an HD TV.
--
Romney becomes "the" Epic Failure!

jseymour

join:2009-12-11
Waterford, MI
said by nightdesigns:

I don't get the point of "plus", pay for service that still has commercials (like the free side),

I didn't mind the limited commercials on H+.

said by nightdesigns:

and only a very limited quantity of shows ...

That's what caused us to dump it. There was really very little on H+ that was of interest to us.

There are programs we DVR because they're on at inconvenient times. When we watch them we skip the commercials entirely. If they'd had them on H+, we'd have skipped recording them and watched them on H+, instead. They'd have gotten our advertising target eyeballs and our $8/mo.

I honestly don't get their thinking at all.

Jim
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·EarthLink

Why should they?

We've seen what happened with the newspaper, printing, book and music industry. Why would any of the existing media players want to shrink the pie, or allow it to be disrupted, simply for the sake of new technology?

Unless a legitimate case can be made that the current beneficiaries of today's distribution model(s) can make greater profits by switching to a consumer-direct model, each party has their own turf to protect.

These companies exist because of profit potential. Without it, you get Pravda, Bill Moyers, Bob Ross and Masterpiece Theater. Not much else.

We've been "cordless" for years, but not because we're unwilling to pay - we'd gladly pay more, if we were allowed to pick the lineup. But I don't think the average household (Mom) wants to do the math or manage ala-carte billing, unless she thinks it saves money, which it can't.

Islands like Hulu/+ aren't going to work. So long as there are holes in the library, series and episodes disappear in the night, or we're forced to watch non-targeted serial commercials, they aren't going to attract critical mass.

morbo
Complete Your Transaction

join:2002-01-22
00000
Reviews:
·Charter

Re: Why should they?

said by elray:

ala-carte billing, unless she thinks it saves money, which it can't.

This statement is completely untrue. A la carte can be a success if implemented correctly. That means it cannot be shoe horned into the current model. Customers respond to value - they would love a true la carte model if providers are willing to offer it.
rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO

Re: Why should they?

Just to be clear, what we really need isn't a la carte channels but a la carte episodes. If a show is good, we pay for it. Otherwise we don't. What we have today is like all the "of-the-month" clubs. (Fruit, cookies, wine, whatever). Rather than every month looking at the available stuff and ordering what we want, we pay up front and then hope the periodic delivery we get is something we like.

•••

Corehhi

join:2002-01-28
Bluffton, SC
Reviews:
·Hargray Cable
said by morbo:

said by elray:

ala-carte billing, unless she thinks it saves money, which it can't.

This statement is completely untrue. A la carte can be a success if implemented correctly. That means it cannot be shoe horned into the current model. Customers respond to value - they would love a true la carte model if providers are willing to offer it.

The real problem is profits with al a carte. Let's say the cable company makes 20% in profits, if you bill is $100 a month they end up with $20. If your bill is $50 they end up with $10 in profit so it helps them to have a bunch of channels you never watch. Numbers are made up but that's the idea. They have fixed costs which won't change whether you have a bunch of channels or just a few, another problem as far as offering al a carte.
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·EarthLink

Re: Why should they?

said by Corehhi:

said by morbo:

said by elray:

ala-carte billing, unless she thinks it saves money, which it can't.

This statement is completely untrue. A la carte can be a success if implemented correctly. That means it cannot be shoe horned into the current model. Customers respond to value - they would love a true la carte model if providers are willing to offer it.

The real problem is profits with al a carte. Let's say the cable company makes 20% in profits, if you bill is $100 a month they end up with $20. If your bill is $50 they end up with $10 in profit so it helps them to have a bunch of channels you never watch. Numbers are made up but that's the idea. They have fixed costs which won't change whether you have a bunch of channels or just a few, another problem as far as offering al a carte.

Nope. There is actually much greater profit potential in ala-carte. Simply put, if people have the choice of assembling their own content packages, they will buy more volume.

The cable industry isn't resisting ala-carte. As a last-mile distributor, they would make the same or greater margins for transport, delivery, and servicing the accounts.

It is the content owners who are reluctant to part from the status quo, who are afraid to let their wares compete for customers, even though many would make greater profits doing so.

Aidian

@clearwire-wmx.net
This.

The content companies don't care where they get their cash from, as long as they get it. But $8/month won't cut it for them.

Remember what happened with Netflix recently: when Netflix was an 'also' video service companies were scrambling to sell rights to Netflix; when it became an 'instead of' service they started demanding billions for rights or just refused to sell at any price.

I'm sure they'd rather get rid of the cable companies and the affiliates (though the cable companies will just screw us on internet access to make up the difference. It's the affiliates who are screwed in the long run.) But they're not going to buy in unless they see the same kind of money that they get now (which is less than they got 20 years ago, and they're really not happy about that). And every broadcast and cable executive is determined to go down fighting before seeing the market for TV go the way the music industry did -- panic over napster pushed labels to embrace iTunes, which destroyed the idea of album sales in favor of singles.
Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1
The issue they face is if they do not exploit it, the video will go to the net anyway via piracy.

It is completely impossible to keep content off the net.

in the end I think we will see product placement. Which already happens to an extent as for example on CSI I think all the CSI trucks are GMC/Chevy Tahoe.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports
kicker

join:2001-03-07
Pittsburgh, PA

Hulu

As a cord cutter (by choice) since 2006, I use Hulu as a glorified DVR service for major network TV shows. $9/month isn't too bad when my only bill is internet access @ $50/month (FiOS 15/5). I could very easily download episodes of TV shows from the usual sources but I'm trying to legitimately obtain the shows and properly support their production. I also like to make a statement that I refuse to pay ridiculous amounts for cable TV.
markbot

join:2012-11-21
New York, NY

too bad

It's too bad that Hulu isn't publicly traded because it would be a screaming short right about now. bye bye

newview
Ex .. Ex .. Exactly
Premium
join:2001-10-01
Parsonsburg, MD
kudos:1

Does anyone actually WATCH Hulu anymore?

I don't and never did ... it's garbage.

•••

Packeteers
Premium
join:2005-06-18
Forest Hills, NY
kudos:1

SNL on Hulu is a Fail

ever try to watch full SNL after it airs on Hulu?

you can't, and the show is chopped, rearranged,

and so full of commercials as to be unwatchable.

bye bye Hulu - your new owners want you gone.
herm1962

join:2003-12-05
Winter, WI

I might ditch H+ for Amazon Prime soon

Where I live broadcast stations are not available but 10 Meg DSL is so I've subsribed to Hulu+ for a few years now. The commercial content is a fraction of the networks 4 minute breaks. I used to have DishNetwork but that was to much for my meager unemployed budget.