It looks like Marissa Mayer has been making tentative enquiries:
“Sources said Mayer also had an extensive getting-to-know-you meeting, which was apparently not held at Hulu’s offices in Santa Monica, Calif., along with COO Henrique De Castro.”
Let’s hope those content deals with the networks aren’t expiring any time soon.
This week The Verge are running a large feature on the future of TV, and the war for distribution of content. Articles include reviews of current VOD hardware, often dragged down by patchy software, to visionary interviews by CEO’s claiming to want to democratise, but surely aiming to be the next Rupert Murdoch.
My thoughts are that nobody has cracked it yet, and I believe this is down to software engineers not being lovers of TV. When I watch a show on Apple TV, the show finishes and it takes me back to the synopses of the episode I just watched, instead of pushing me to the next ep, you realise this is software written by someone with no love for bingeing on TV for hours on end.
When you can’t actually navigate 4OD on a PS3 properly with the bluetooth remote, it reminds you that the person who coded the app never sat back and tried to watch two episodes of Peep Show in a row.
Even the idea of throwing youtube to your TV with the new app via airplay mirroring can’t be done for more than a few minutes without your iPhone reaching epic new temperature highs.
What I’m saying is that software engineers at the big players need a dose of reality. They need to sit down with the common man and observe his TV watching habits. They only need tweaking. The best interface I have come across is Netflix on a PS3. You get the basic information, if you don’t touch the remote it will keep loading up episode after episode, and it does what all good interfaces do, puts as few layers as possible between you and your favourite programs.
Stop trying to complicate things, more people will buy your product, and one day very soon we will look back at the quaint 30 year period where we all fitted satellites to the side of our houses to access 500 channels.
As a side note, I think there is enough interest in the future of television to start a dedicated website. What say you, Joshua Topolsky?
Don’t miss the War for TV on The Verge right now.
An unexpected story from Paid content about Hulu co-producing the fourth series of The Thick of It with the BBC.
“We’re really excited to give U.S. audiences a chance to catch up with all previous episodes, and as series co-producers for season four, we are proud to make full seasons of this distinctive and smart show available exclusively to Hulu viewers,” said Hulu Senior VP of Content Andy Forssell, in a statement.
With this deal, Netflix involved in the production of Arrested Development and Amazon Studios commissioning content specifically for their video services (and maybe Lovefilm?), the content pipeline futures are looking rosy for the biggest video on demand players.
Techdirt look into the DOJ’s potential investigation into the cable industrys protectionist practices:
Mostly, what this goes back to is the inevitable fact that the internet is going to subsume television. But, these days, there’s so much money in TV, thanks to the ability to be a gatekeeper, that all efforts are on holding back the internet for as long as is humanly possible.
I’ve said it before, but TV Everywhere is a last gasp attempt by “big cable” to protect the old order. If they have any sense, they will put a stop to this practice before the DoJ overdoes the sanctions and takes away their ability to compete on an level playing field.
Slate talks about why Hulu must lower the quality of service before it’s too late.
The problem is that Hulu knows it’s too good. If it were a startup company, like Facebook or YouTube or Amazon, this wouldn’t be a problem at all. It would just go on being too good until it grew to dominate the market. Then it would go public and set about figuring out how to turn a fat profit. But Hulu isn’t a startup. Owned by NBC, News Corp., Disney, and a private-equity firm, it’s a traditional media company that has been acting like a startup in order to defend its old-media business model. And that’s why the fun can’t last. Hulu has to make itself less awesome, and soon, before it eviscerates its own corporate parents.
Similar situations are arising on this side of the Atlantic too. Old media companies will not blaze a trail into the new “all content, all the time” era. The tech companies that can move forward quickly don’t own any content to do it. We are at an impasse.
MG Seigler reports that Season 2 of the HBO show Game of Thrones is on track to become the most pirated show of 2012.
Now I don’t know how much HBO costs exactly (I’m in the UK), but I know you need to have a basic cable subscription in addition to an HBO plan. There is quite literally no other option to watch the show legally for the first few months after linear transmission.
How long will HBO allow this situation to continue before they partner with Google/Hulu/Anyone to release episodes online days after first playout? As long as their carriage negotiations with Comcast, Time Warner et al continue to bring in the billions.
You all know what an upfront is right? I know we don’t have them in the UK, so indulge me for a second. It’s when the entire US network television industry decamps to New York, in a bid to reveal their fall schedules while at the same time making pretty eyes at the advertising industry.
The hope is that Unilever and General Motors will be so enthralled by the trailer for the latest procedural “with a twist” that they will spend big ad dollars that coming Autumn. (Handy fact, the US TV season starts in September, as that was the time that the US auto industry wanted to launch new car models.)
Anyway, WSJ report that Google and Hulu are planning a similar upfront for online video.
At a time when online video is becoming a bigger part of the entertainment landscape, the companies hope to get a piece of the $9 billion taken in by traditional television networks during the upfront period, the newspaper said.
Are we moving to a consistent schedule of ad-supported online long form video?
An article from Fox Business suggests this is coming.
Hulu, which attracted 31 million unique users in March under a free-for-all model, is taking its first steps to change to a model where viewers will have to prove they are a pay-TV customer to watch their favorite shows, according to sources.
If this happens it will be a huge setback for the still weirdly nascent US video on demand market, and a huge victory for the cable companies.