Amy Banse, president of Comcast Interactive Media, sat down with NewTeeVee Live for some interesting announcements and details about some of their future offerings. In particular, the fairly long interview, circled around Comcast’s “On Demand Online,” which will be released this December.
She talked about this new service in a way that we heard people talking about DMCA rights to purchased media. Banse explained that they wanted to offer subscribers a chance at accessing their content from anywhere while not undermining the subscriber business model.
As a Comcast subscriber, you can register three independent devices on your Comcast account through either Fancast or Comcast.net. Once the devices are registered to your subscription account, you’ll need to download a Move Networks powered player that will play all available content.
The content offerings appear to be very plentiful mostly due to Comcast’s business model of being able to maintain subscribers over the internet. Banse felt that having the On Demand Online service tied to the subscriber account there remained a level continuity for programmers and advertisers. Thus, many networks have opted into the new service.
The interview is long-winded but interesting at points. You can check it out after the jump.
You spoke and Hulu listened - the online video streaming site has added a 'Coming Soon' section so you can keep up with your favorite shows without skipping a beat.
"Simply put, we've noticed that many of you are often wondering when new episodes will be available," Betna Chan-Martin, Product Manager, Hulu, wrote on the company's blog. "After a lot of work with our content providers, our product and design team, and our content team, we decided to create a page that contains a schedule of what's to come for the week ahead."
To find the new page, you'll need to follow the 'Browse by Date' link at the top of Hulu and then click on the 'Coming Soon' tab. Once there, you'll see an episode guide outlining what ABC, Fox, and NBC have in store for the week. And if you're a registered user, you can sign up for email alerts for when a video has been added, or "on the rare occasion when that video is late in getting up on Hulu.com."
It’s sort of fun watching media moguls--the sharpest knifes in the drawer--thrash about when trying to figure out how to make the Internet pay. First it was charge for content. When that didn’t work it was give content away, but cram it full of ads. That didn’t make enough money, so now we’re back to charging for content. (Which didn’t work the first time.)
The current star of this hit parade is Chase Carey, Deputy Chairman of the News Corp. According to Carey: “I think a free model is a very difficult way to capture the value of our content. I think what we need to do is deliver that content to consumers in a way where they will appreciate the value.” Thanks Dad, but all I want is watch some Office reruns; maybe a little Family Guy. Carey continued: “Hulu concurs with that, it needs to evolve to have a meaningful subscription model as part of its business.” Time, it appears, for Hulu to start charging for the value it provides, so we’ll better appreciate it.
Free, however, isn’t dead yet. Claire Atkinson, of Broadcasting & Cable, suggests that Carey’s plan may be to reduce the free content and add some pay-to-view options--content specially created for the Internet or television previews. Atkinson offers the chilling possibility of American Idol previews. (Hasn’t that show done enough damage to the American psyche?)
The humor in all this is the powers that be in the entertainment industry see the Internet as a gold mine. One they can’t, no matter how hard they dig, get in to. It just might be the Internet has created the possibilities of new revenue models which don’t neatly mesh with the ‘grab all the money you can by controlling all the content you can’ models that currently exist in the analog world. The music industry learned this the hard way. Perhaps it’s a lesson others can only appreciate by first paying a price.
The headline “Hulu is going subscription” has been making headlines around the net recently, but as usual, some of these claims are somewhat exaggerated. New Corps. Chairman Rupert Murdoch and NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker indicated that Hulu may indeed one day have a subscription based service, but “no decisions have been made yet”. Inside sources have indicated that Hulu is already beta testing subscription based video services internally, but that this is merely an attempt to hammer out the technical details.
The challenge for Hulu at this point is to successfully find a strategy for transitioning to a paid business model, especially when its popularity was largely fueled by the simple fact that it was the best legal way to get free access to TV shows. Experimenting with new business models isn’t surprising, it’s even healthy, but where it leads is anyone guess. Hulu is also in a great position to watch and learn as Google attempts to implement its paid content. Adding paid offerings to a free online video service may or may not take off, but at least they appear to be letting someone else take the lead.
Either way it doesn’t sound like Hulu will be going subscription anytime soon, but at least it shows they are still dedicated to the future of the service.
Having remained in the shadows of the competing yoke of Youtube and Hulu for the entire span of its existence, and with revenues, or lack of it, rubbing salt into its yawning wounds, this fresh attempt to sneak out of those long shadows is understandable.
Its current senior VP of engineering, Matt Zelesko, will replace Mike Volpi, though Volpi will continue to be chairman. The impact of the shakeup will pervade through its ranks as it plans to prune its staff.
Brace yourselves for this one. Hulu -- the free video streaming service that has others, like YouTube, trying to emulate it -- may not be totally free in the not too distant future. Or at least that's how Jonathan Miller, News Corp.'s new chief digital officer, envisions things.
According to AOL's Daily Finance website, Miller said he sees Hulu making at least some of its content available only to paid subscribers. At the same time, he was also quick to clarify that he won't attend his first Hulu board meeting until next week, meaning his speculation doesn't necessarily reflect that of Hulu's.
"In my opinion the answer could be yes," Miller said. "I don't see why over time that shouldn't happen. I don't think it's on the agenda for Monday [but] it seems to me that over time that could be a logical thing."
Keep in mind that News Corp. co-owns Hulu and it's Miller's job to find ways of getting revenue from from News Corp.'s properties.
In other words, enjoy Hulu while you can - in the long run, it may all have been just an extended free trial.
Just this week Hulu launched their new service, Goog—err, Hulu Labs in the interest of letting their users get a more hands on approach to the development of the site.
“To help us learn from user feedback […], we’re excited to open up a new Hulu Labs section on the site today. At Hulu Labs, we’ll provide sneak peeks at some of the upcoming releases from our product roadmap, some of which are personal projects and hobbies our devs have been cooking up,” wrote Eric Feng, Hulu’s CTO on their official blog. “From new recommendation algorithms to tools for building custom widgets to a time-based view for browsing your favorite shows, we’ll be sharing a variety of these new creations with you at Hulu Labs and looking forward to your thoughts on how to make these products better.”
They also released the beta for Hulu Desktop, an application that has been optimized to let you watch all of your favorite shows (so long as they’re hosted on Hulu) on your desktop or media center PC. The UI has been designed with a small Microsoft or Apple remote in mind, making it a very reasonable contender for all the media center PCs out there.
Stop surfing the internet for a minute (we know, a tall order) and go get your last cable or satellite TV bill. Back? Good. Now skim to the bottom and look at the total amount of money you paid for TV last month. Do you feel like you got a reasonable amount of entertainment for that $60, $80, or even $100-plus? Are you happy about the money you spend for the privilege of watching TV? We’re not. The vast majority of TV we watch is available for free, over the air. Sure, we’ll occasionally watch an episode of Flight of the Conchords on HBO or a documentary on Discovery, but most of the TV we watch is on one of the big over-the-air networks—ABC, CBS, Fox, the CW, and NBC. So we started looking for alternatives.
It turns out that the vast majority of new TV shows are available online, either as part of an ad-driven website like Hulu or TV.com, or available for sale on iTunes or Amazon’s Unbox service. However, having a PC in the living room has traditionally sucked. After all, you don’t want to hear a big, noisy PC when you’re enjoying a movie or a TV show, and using a mouse and keyboard as the primary interface just doesn’t cut it when you’re kicking back on the couch. But times have changed. These days, it’s easy to build a PC that’s quiet enough to be virtually unheard, yet powerful enough to play all the high-definition video that’s currently available.
And making the proposition even more appealing, there are software frontends like Boxee and the new Hulu Desktop that let you harness all that hardware power in an easy-to-use, remote-friendly interface that combines the massive library of streaming video on the web with the DRM-free content you rip from discs or purchase legally on the web. We’ll introduce you to a couple of the options, then help you configure our favorite. By combining a few hundred bucks’ worth of hardware with a free software app and your broadband connection, you can reduce the money you spend on entertainment from $100 a month to $100 a year.
Hulu is currently one of the hottest video sites available on the web. It’s about to take over the number two spot amongst streaming video sites (behind only YouTube), and it just signed a deal with Disney that will give it even more content. Though, these great features are only available to those that live in the US, and they’re making damn sure it stays that way.
In the past, if you weren’t living in the US and you wanted access to Hulu’s massive library of footage, you had to use a proxy server workaround. For a while, this worked without a hitch, but Hulu wised up to the tricky practices and began doing geo-checks. Still, a few VPN creators like Hotspot Shield would work by making your IP address anonymous. Sadly, these days have ended.
Hulu’s techniques for detecting location has once again changed, and they’re blocking all anonymous proxies. If you’re one of those looking to use the video site through a VPN, you’ll be met with this message: “Based on your IP address, we noticed you are trying to access Hulu through an anonymous proxy tool. Hulu is not currently available outside the U.S. If you’re in the U.S., you’ll need to disable your anonymizer to access videos on Hulu.”
At long last, Hulu and Disney finally inked a deal giving Hulu permission to stream full-length episodes of such programs like "Lost," "Grey's Anatomy," "Desperate Housewives," and more. Under terms of the new deal, Disney will join the video sharing site as a partner and according to un-named sources, take a 27 percent stake in the venture, DigitalDaily reports.
"From our landmark iTunes deal to our pioneering decision to stream ad supported shows on our ABC.com player, Disney has sought to meet the constantly evolving viewing habits of our consumers, and today’s Hulu announcement is the next important step in that ongoing journey," Disney CEO Bob Iger bloviated. "Disney and Hulu share a focus on delivering the highest-quality entertainment experience and we look forward to working with Hulu to build value for our consumers, our brands and our shareholders."
The deal should inject a ton of new content into Hulu, which according to a joint press release, will include full-length episodes of primetime programs, ABC Family series, ABC Daytime and SOAPnet shows, classic series from ABC's library (like "Who Wants to be a Millionaire", "Dancing with the Stars"), Disney Channel hits (like "Wizards of Waverly Place" and "Phineas and Ferb"), yet-to-be-determined library titles from The Walt Disney Studios, and short-form content.