General Management, Product Strategy and Content Programming Executive
This post was originally posted on NewMedici.com.
It’s been a interesting week for Hulu. A week ago, Hulu removed its content from both TV.com and open-source media center, Boxee, thereby removing one of the only ways to watch Hulu content on your television. As Fred Wilson explains on his blog post entitled “Why Hulu Should Embrace Boxee“
Boxee is a browser optimized for the 10 ft experience. Much like mobile browsers on phones, Boxee renders the content it finds on the web in a way that optimizes it for the device it runs on (in Boxee’s case that is the TV).
Asking for video to be removed was a seemingly strange request for Hulu and its content providers to make, as the content when viewed through Boxee is exactly the same as the content when viewed on Hulu.com – complete with advertisements. This seems counter to Hulu’s open policy of allowing users to embed the videos on Facebook, their own blogs or wherever they please. It also prompted a number of posts including “Is Hulu Driving People Back to Piracy” from NewTeeVee and Lifehacker’s guide to how to get Hulu on your TV without Hulu’s help.
Perhaps the content providers are being influenced by the cable companies, who are getting fearful that being able to view Hulu content on the television will lead to a mass exodus of cable subscribers. On Monday, however, Nielsen’s A2/M2 Three Screen Report reported that people are watching more TV on the television than ever before and online viewership has not detrimentally affected offline viewership at all.
At the same time, cable companies are trying to negotiate online access to all the content they currently show through their network, wanting to eventually launch their own versions of Hulu – both on the computer and on their set-top box. This would make it very difficult for independent plays like Hulu to keep their audience, considering that the MSO’s could allow their content to bypass bandwidth caps and speed throttling to provide a much better experience than a company not owned by an MSO could.
Adding to this, Peter Chernin, who was a powerful ally for Hulu, just announced his retirement from Fox.
All of this presents a significant challenge for Hulu and its open strategy to continue its success in a business as closed as Hollywood traditionally is.
This blog is about stuff I find interesting. Hopefully you will find them interesting too.