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.
I notice that The Sundance Channel will be releasing all the episodes of new series Rectify on iTunes at once, taking a leaf out of Netflix’s playbook. At under $10, and the tagline “from the producers of Breaking Bad”, I might be tempted…
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.
Thoughts on Spotify potentially diversifying from music to TV over at Paidcontent:
The latest peddler is Danish public broadcaster TV2, whose Beep tech site says it has learned that Spotify is negotiating to distribute HBO’s upcoming HBO Nordic over-the-top pay-TV service across Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark.
I have recently come to love Spotify, now that I have figured out how to restrict the social integration to people I don’t mind seeing my musical tastes (Kajagoogoo anyone?). If they can pull off something similar with HBO, Showtime et al, allowing friends to share and discover new shows, then it would be a welcome addition to any smart TV or set top box.
Great piece on Giga OM about the impact Arrested Development could have on the fortunes of Netflix, and the wider TV distribution chain.
The TV singularity approaching us consumers of media is at times a scary one: We’re used to shows that cost millions an episode, but we’re also now used to consuming whatever we want, wherever and whenever we want. Some people think that going forward, these two mindsets won’t be able to co-exist. But Netflix seems to disagree, and the Bluths may be the ones to prove it.
With Hulu Co-pro’ing The Thick of It, I wonder if Lovefilm have any plans to acquire a much-loved series to have it exclusively on their network.
What a week! Every time I started writing about some potential monumental shift in the TV landscape, another company made a bold move worth writing about. So I will attempt to summarise below, in no particular order.
In the most exciting news, Amazon announced a London R&D office, to help lead development on TV and Film services.
Finally in a surprise turn of events, BSkyB announced an investment in Roku to develop new streaming hardware and services. There motives are unclear to me at this time, other than a scattergun approach to the fight against Netflix and Lovefilm.
Google announced details for their fiber network in Kansas City, including a ‘Fiber TV’ service that some major networks have not signed up for. The prices are pretty amazing, and it makes me wonder how easy it would be for Google to rollout this kind of product across a part (or all) of London.
Facebook announced their first international engineering office in London. Not strictly TV related, but important as a sign of US tech companies looking to London as an important outpost.
These are exciting times indeed, if you are in London and want to be part of the next wave of TV services…
Hunter Walk over at Google has a fantastic theory about where viewers are finding the hours in the day to watch Netflix and Youtube.
People watch five hours of TV a day, and you can generally break it down into three categories. The first category is must-see TV, which makes up hour one. Then there’s “nice to see” TV, which makes up hours two and three. And then there’s basically filler — people just sort of hanging out with the TV on, but not really totally engaged.
For now, YouTube and Netflix are focused on hours four and five, just chipping away at the fringes of what people watch. And they’re apparently succeeding, as anyone looking at their growth metrics will be able to recognize. It’s when they start getting into hours two and three that the whole thing gets really interesting.
The article I have taken this from goes on to theorise that Netflix and Youtube among others are like the cable industry in the 80’s, primed to make an original programming swoop and take up more viewing time. My only problem with this, as always, is discovery. People won’t watch new content in a vacuum, and besides word of mouth, these platforms don’t have the marketing budgets to draw people in. I know this will change in time, it’s just a matter of when.