Monday, November 9, 2009

Hulu's doubts may be others' chances

I love to see 30 Rock in Hulu. In fact is the only way I can do it, as I'm in my wonderful Web Strategies for Storytelling class when it's aired. The video and audio quality is good, the ads are few and not too horrible -great moment to check the mail- and if you want more you can access to any other episode in just two clicks. It works for me, and I don't really care if it works for Hulu's owners.

So I fully understand Quincy Smith's and Laura Martin's points: Why did they (Disney, GE and NewsCorp) decided to do it so well and so easy if they were not sure about how to make money of it?

Now it would be pretty hard to tell the users "hey, we've changed our minds and a) we're not going to put as much content online or b) we are going to charge you for what now is free". You need to be very careful with that kind of moves.

The strength of Hulu comes from the fact that some of the biggest players had agreed to act together. That way they get more than decent prices for the ads -$50 CPM is just amazing. The basic CPM for regular banners in a web site without special campaigns is just $1- and an offer big enough for the users to stay hours in the site. Others like Turner's Adult Swim or CBS' Social Room are too small or more experimental, and have less reach than Hulu.

All that said, if Hulu decides to charge for the films and episodes, not only would be the time for other smaller and free players to get new users, but also the time for more open and social-media like options. I'm thinking about Boxee, an open software media center that aggregates the most interesting free video content online and that even enables Torrent downloads from all kind of platforms. This application has been awarded at the CES as Best product in the 'Maximum tech' category and will turn from alpha to beta in a month. The more good quality video content that applications as Boxee are able to offer the less impressive and essential Hulu would look like.


1 comment:

Nicole Siegel said...

I agree - If Hulu does change their model, there will be new players in the space who do offer their content for free (same thing happened when iTunes launched). Will the convenience and quality still be there? That's to be seen, but they will still certainly attract an audience of viewers who refuse to pay for their online video content.

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