Earlier this week YouTube announced that they’ve finally wrapped up a deal that will allow them to stream a large range of full-length movies and TV shows from Sony, Lionsgate, as well as other television networks and various indie movies.
The movies and episodes will come in a new section of YouTube, as ad-supported (but free) content. Some of the content initially included will be “Casino Royale,” CBS’ new series “Harper’s Island,” and even Morgan Surlock’s popular “Super Size Me.” Though, for the time being Sony’s content will simply be a link that leads users directly to their site, allowing Sony to collect traffic from their own video player.
Sadly, as Google admits, much of the content is at least a decade old. But, for the time being they’re looking towards making baby steps before they can fully compete with Hulu.
TunerFreeMCE's Martin Millmore posted an example of what Hulu is doing to restrict its content, which at first meant that "no new programs will be added to Hulu in TunerFreeMCE at the moment." However, Millmore was quick to update the Vista MCE add-in to version 2.6.7, which he says works with Hulu's new encoding, albeit while running a fair bit slower.
According to Engadget, Boxee will also have an update available for Windows and Linux users before long with a workaround in place. Once that happens, it will be interesting to see how Hulu responds, who some feel is at the whim of its content providers, and not evil aliens (if such a separation exists).
Although major ABC shows are reported to be at the heart of the discussions, the sources haven’t ruled out the possibility of the talks being expanded to include more content from Disney’s stable. Hulu is a joint venture between NBC Universal and News Corp with each having a 45% stake. A source has revealed that one of the arrangements being discussed is to allow Disney to be on equal footing with the two majority stakeholders.
Meanwhile, Disney and Youtube have struck a deal paving the way for ad-backed Youtube channels featuring videos from Disney and ESPN. These video channels will only be available in the U.S and won’t feature entire shows from the Disney stable. The ESPN channel and the ABC channel are scheduled to go live in April and May respectively. But, according to another paidcontent.org report, Disney’s deal with Youtube will not affect its talks with Hulu.
Earlier this month Boxee, the ambitious new program that’s looking to bring a full Web content experience to your living room (that’s currently only available for Mac and Linux), announced that it would introduce a brand new, overhauled application program interface (API) and a workaround that will allow Hulu’s content to work… for now.
The new API will introduce a few applications right off the bat, including built-in support for Pandora and RadioTime. But, the new API will also allow developers to build more complex applications for the platform.
The workaround that will allow users to view content on Hulu will work by detecting video in a regular web page and then attempting to put it into full-screen view. In the past, Hulu was available as a channel right though the API, but it was blocked at the request of content partners. Not long after Boxee just grabbed the data they wanted from Hulu’s RSS feed, but they blocked that too. With any luck, this new change will allow users to view all the video content they wish.
Hulu is celebrating its first anniversary. And what an amazing inaugural year it was for Hulu: its market share rose steadily through the year making it one of the most riveting video sites on the internet. The video-on-demand site has stepped into its second year armed with new social networking features.
Now website users can share their favorite shows with each other using the new "Hulu Friends" feature. Users can import contacts from major social networks and email services. The site ensures that friends are kept up to speed with each other’s viewing activities. This move is expected to make Hulu more enticing for advertisers.
As we inch ever close to episode 100, the team still has yet to decide on an appropriate way to celebrate. Live broadcast? video podcast? Only time will tell. But this week, the more pressing issue is the complete absence of the senior members of the staff. With Will and Gordon MIA (possibly off to renewal), the podcast is helmed by a crew of fresh face editors -- the 25 and under club. The gang discusses Intel's new dispute with Nvidia, Boxee's divorce with Hulu, and the ongoing Pirate Bay trial. Everybody shares their personal list of essential Windows apps, and we try to answer a few listener questions (mostly unsuccessfully). But even without Gordon's wisdom and rage, a rant finds its way into episode 97.
Do you have a tech question? A comment? A tale of technological triumph? Just need to get something off your chest? A secret to share? Email us at email@example.com or call our 24-hour No BS Podcast hotline at 877.404.1337 x1337--operators are standing by.
Of the new internet startups that have emerged in the past few months, one of our favorites has to be Boxee, the streaming social media center from the team that created the acclaimed XBMC frontend. Boxee (currently still in Beta) combines popular video and podcast streams from CBS, ABC, and PBS into one slick and functional media center that turns any connected computer into an internet TV receiver. One of the best features was that it supported streaming from Hulu, which meant users could navigate through thousands of hours of content (e.g. all of Arrested Development) without opening a web browser.
Unfortunately, that is no longer the case.
Just today, Boxee announced that they would be discontinuing support for Hulu streaming after content providers complained and demanded that the Boxee service be shut off. In a sobering blog post, Boxee CEO Avner Ronen informed users that as of this Friday, Hulu streaming would be unavailable via their service. “We have many content partners who are generating revenue from boxee users and we will work with Hulu and their partners to resolve the situation as quickly as possible,” said Ronen. In the Boxee beta, content from Hulu retrained all of the advertising that users would see when watching a video on Hulu.com, so the issue doesn’t appear to be related to missed ad revenue opportunities. Ronen also stated that Boxee beta testers streamed 100,000 videos from Hulu just last week alone.
And what did Hulu have to say for itself? Read on.
UK’s Competition Commission has disapproved Project Kangaroo, a proposed Hulu-esque VOD service, which was supposed to provide video content – mostly free videos - from three of its joint owners, the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. The fear of Kangaroo’s inevitable hegemony led the Commission to veto the alliance. The Commission felt that the video-on-demand service would have resulted in the “loss of competition” between its proprietors.
The three companies expressed their disconsolation in a joint statement. “We are disappointed by the decision to prohibit this joint venture. While this is an unwelcome finding for the shareholders, the real losers from this decision are British consumers. This is a disproportionate remedy and a missed opportunity in the further development of British broadcasting,” the statement reads. Although consumers would have most certainly devoured the service, the Commission's findings appear to be reasonable.
It seems inevitable that ISPs currently training their guns at p2p traffic will soon start fretting over video sharing websites, which are gaining in popularity and gradually conquering more internet bandwidth. November 2008 proved to be another prolific month for online video websites. According to data released by comScore Video Metrix service, there was a 34% year-over-year increase in online viewership in the US in November. A staggering 12.7 billion online videos kept online viewers riveted to their computer screens.
Google websites accounted for 40% of the total views in that month. Google obviously has its Youtube juggernaut to thank for being in the ascendancy. Youtube contributed 98% of Google’s market share. Google websites also triumphed as far as total number of viewers goes with 98 million viewers in November.
One website that has come up by leaps and bounds is Hulu, which retained the 6th spot in the high-stakes online video market in November 2008. Hulu scored a major victory over its competitors by emerging as the website with most riveting videos as the average duration of each video viewed at Hulu was 11.9 minutes – way higher than the industry average of 3.1 minutes.
Watching Viacom and Time Warner go at each other is like watching a divorced couple trying to push each others' buttons. But instead of alimony or child support, Viacom wants Time Warner to cough up more cash for its 20 channels, including MTV, Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central. If Time Warner doesn't agree, Viacom could pull all of its channels, and to drive the point home, the media conglomerate has taken out full page ads in Times and other publications showing Dora the Explorer crying because children won't be able to watch her show. Well played.
But if you think that's hitting below belt, Time Warner plans to fire back with what amounts to a slap in the face.
"We will be telling our customers exactly where they can go to see these programs online," said Alexander Dudley, a spokesman for Time Warner Cable. "We'll also be telling them how they can hook up their PCs to a television set."
Yes, this is the same Time Warner who has been testing out metered bandwidth in certain markets earlier in the year, and has been charging an overage fee for $1/GB in those test markets after a two month grace period. Now the cable company will be encouraging its subscribers to use more bandwidth by setting up HTPCs and logging into sites like Hulu.
At least, that's the plan for the time being. Something tells us we haven't heard the last of this dispute. But if Viacom and Time Warner do actually break up, just remember, it's not your fault.