Hulu Owners Looking To Make Hulu Even More Useless

from the you-can't-disrupt-yourself dept

It's been almost two years since we suggested it might be impossible for Hulu to survive, given that it was in a bit of a "rock and a hard place" situation. The only way for it to really succeed long-term online was to disrupt the existing TV business. Because, if it didn't do that, others could and would kill Hulu. However, Hulu is owned by the existing TV business, and that means the company can't do what it needs to do. The WSJ is reporting that NBC management is upset with the way Hulu is undercutting its current business model, and is now pushing to change Hulu entirely into an "online cable channel" rather than an aggregator and service for watching television shows. Of course, as many are pointing out, this would almost certainly kill off Hulu.

This is all pretty unfortunate. From a technical standpoint, Hulu appears to be a great service. The only thing really holding it back has been a bunch of owners and licensees who think that the path to the future is to apply all sorts of limitations on what can be done with their content. That's the exact opposite of the path to success these days. Putting limitations on content is not the solution. Enabling people to do more with your content is the solution. Hulu put in place a platform that could do that... but it's owners are choosing to go in a totally different direction, and they don't even seem to realize that they're making a huge mistake.

Filed Under: cable, disruption, innovation, internet, pay tv, tv
Companies: comcast, hulu, nbc universal


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  1. identicon
    JEDIDIAH, 31 Jan 2011 @ 7:12am

    The pain tolerance of consumer is actually quite high.

    I don't think the fuss over commercials is that relevant for most people. Sadly, I think most consumers have no taste and they will go for the cheapest convenient option presented to them. Most people just don't seem to mind the commercials.

    Otherwise the American cinema industry would be dead right now.

    We're longtime DVR users in my houshold. So the escalating number of commercials in movie theatres is quite visible to us and tends to stick in our minds keeping us away from the cinema until we kind of forget about it again.

    No. What the TV industry needs to concentrate on is making sure that content is available and is convenient. They cannot allow pirates to have the better product. The problem is that they think they can stop piracy when they really can't. This false notion will encourage them to litigate rather than innovate. That will be their undoing.

    They could public DRM free torrents of shows with ads included and most people would not be motivated enough to strip the ads or seek out ad-free versions of the show.

    Cheap and easy is all that most people care about.

    People interested in quality are bound to dump cable entirely. Such people are more likely to just buy the relevant boxed sets and start turning their back on cable regardless of the form it takes.

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