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
    KC, 31 Jan 2011 @ 7:43am

    Hulu vs YouTube

    I have a YouTube channel with a lot of kids/family shows on there. So you could call me a pirate if you like. But I don't care because I am making a lot of people happy with what I have put up. A lot of what I put up has no official DVD release. All of what I have put up so far is not available to legally stream anywhere. Yet I have a worldwide audience.

    Let's look at YouTube and Hulu side by side for a moment.
    Hulu: Restricted to The United States of America
    YouTube: Worldwide

    Notice the difference there? Also, apart from a couple of shows that have a song used in them that was content matched (ads appear at the bottom of those episodes), people can watch these shows on their mobile devices, such as an iPhone or iPad, if they so choose to.

    And from many of the comments and PM's I have recieved, I have reason to believe that many of my viewers (1) would indeed buy a DVD of the show if given the chance (2) use YouTube for the convenicne - every show on one site - and the fact that you can rate, comment and even contact the uploader.

    Let's compare YouTube and Hulu side by side again - and I am not in the United States so I have never used Hulu so if I am wrong on this next point, please feel free to correct me...
    Hulu: Watch the video
    YouTube: Watch the video, discuss (interact) with other viewers and possibly even the creator of the video, if you want to

    I believe Mike calls this "Connect with Fans"

    How's this for CwF: One of the cartoon shows I've put up has a small (and very active) community of fans who have nowhere else to go to talk about the show (besides DeviantArt) as nowhere else cares about this particular show! I've even been contacted by that show's head writer THANKING me for making the show available! And one of the show's animators has also left many comments, now sadly deleted when my previous channel got struck.

    Both of them have also discussed the show and it's production with the show's fans. We got great insider stories on what was involved in the animation process. We got a great (albeit disappointing) story on how the writers had to fight the studio executives on some aspects of the show. The show, once completed, then got rejected by one of the networks who co-financd the production! Now find stuff like THAT on Hulu!

    So how to make Hulu work? How about trying CwF+RtB (or, in this case, Reason to Subscribe)? Or are the studios who make mainstream adult television too scared to hear what the fans have to say?

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