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November 3, 2007

What's The Word On Hulu?

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When Hulu first went online in beta I had applied to be a beta tester only to find out the service wasn't available in Canada. When a backdoor was found that allowed access into the platform without beta tester verification, I thought I'd be a badass and give it a try, only to find a message telling me Hulu wasn't available from my location. Definite drawback to the service. So my only option has been to look around online for reviews from those living in the US and draw my conclusions from there.

Some of the upsides so far deemed by testers is the platform's ease of use and its effective ad structure which tailors ads to the length of the content. For example, 15 second ad spots for shorter clips and 30 second ad spots for entire episodes. A $100 million investment from Providence Equity Partners plus access to monies from its partners Fox, NBC, Sony Pictures Television, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer means it has the funds to take the appropriate measures to make the platform succeed. Also notable is the fact that Hulu's success, if it happens, could cripple Apple's attempt at profitable distribution of Hollywood movies over iTunes. Music to all the Apple haters ears out there. Can you say iBrick anyone!

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Hulu Greeted Me With This

Some of the downsides include frequent 404 errors and gateway timeouts as the platform adjusts to steadily increasing traffic and content, the fact that it can't be downloaded or used outside of the US, lack of community features, and the inability to embed newly released videos outside of Hulu. It also could be argued that by pulling NBC content from YouTube and iTunes, the network has drastically decreased the amount of people viewing their content meaning less ad revenues and most likely less profits.

From the perspective gained from reading others reviews of Hulu, it's hard for me to make a decisive judgement, but I can give some thoughts. The fact that Hulu does not embrace user-generated content seems to be point that critics like to pinpoint, but the fact that it uses only professionally-created content makes it an exclusive platform that can can make YouTube look as amateur as it is. This could potentially take YouTube right off its list of competitors. Not enabling viewing outside of the US has dramatically reduced the distribution potential of the platform and I hope this is only temporary as the site adjusts to increasing traffic and handling more content. Even for a beta, this is the first I've ever seen exclusion of the majority of the world population for a test. Also, a lack of community features will probably reduce the stickiness of the site. Most people don't want to watch TV on their computer screens at this point in time, they want to watch it on their traditional TV's. And not enough potential users of Hulu have adopted the hi-def technologies and set-top boxes required to stream the Hulu content from their PC's to their TV's. Community engagement would be one feature that would make alot of users stick around. I'd imagine though that this would be a feature included once the platform goes public.

It remains to see whether or not Hulu will ultimately succeed, but one thing is for sure: they have the money necessary to be around for a while.

Via Broadcasting & Cable, Silicon Valley Insider, Mashable

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 2, 2007

Oprah Launches YouTube Channel

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I don't know how many Oprah Winfrey fans actually read this blog, but I'm sure there is a few. That few may like to know that the talkshow superstar has launched her own channel on YouTube. The Oprah Show will feature some of the best clips from the televised talkshow, but the majority of the content will center around backstage footage not typically seen on TV.

Winfrey says that the purpose of the online channel is to increase community engagement in the talkshow by utilizing the already huge YouTube community with the ultimate goal of interest in the show increasing. Also, November 6, The Oprah Winfrey Show will be featuring YouTube creators Chad Hurley and Steve Chen along with some of the self-made YouTube superstars of the past couple of years.

Via Broadcasting & Cable

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

October 29, 2007

Hulu Debuts: Mostly Positive Reviews, Still Alot Of Skeptics

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NBC/Fox's Hulu video platform has just been released in private beta today, but some early product reviews are in. Most reviews are positive, but Silicon Valley Insider's Henry Blodget gives us a few pointers to remember before we make our final decision regarding Hulu's future success. Most of the positive reviews so far are just based on the ability for the user to watch TV and movies; however, Hulu owns none of this content. Nor do they have exclusive rights to the majority of the content, meaning it can also be found elsewhere. Hulu only gets 20-30% of overall platform revenues as they are responsible for their own overhead costs such as that of streaming video. If they involve a distribution partner at any point, the 20-30% will likely be halved. Because content is not exclusive, Hulu will not become a destination site and will likely have to involve a distribution partner at some point. As I write this, a just-released New York Times article states that the company already has five: Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo, MySpace, and Comcast. Even though NBC pulled their content from YouTube in support of Hulu, rumor is YouTube will probably be Hulu's primary distribution partner and their largest driver of site traffic. Does that mean that YouTube will demand more than half of the 20-30% of platform revenues for their part in Hulu's traffic? One thing that we do know for sure is that Hulu content is absolutely plastered with advertising. Hopefully the advertisers see some success out of this controversial product.

Via Silicon Valley Insider

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

October 25, 2007

Lonelygirl 15 Airs On MySpaceTV Starting Tomorrow

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Listen up lonelygirl15 fans. Starting tomorrow and going throughout the weekend, extended episodes of LG15 will air on the front page of MySpaceTV and the lonelygirl15 website at 10 AM PST each day. The show's producers will air a recap video of the phenomenally successful August season finale to go along with the final episode. Rock band "Something For Rockets" will also be debuting their new single "Beautiful Life" during the broadcast.

Via Mashable

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

October 22, 2007

"Roommates" To Debut On MySpaceTV Today

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MySpaceTV revealed late last night that today at 4 PM eastern, the first episode of "Roommates" will air on the social network's video platform. The show is the first original series to broadcast on Rupert Murdoch's News Corp-owned site. Produced by Iron Sink Media and sponsored by Ford Motor Company's 2008 Focus, "Roommates" will run through December 21st with new 3-minute minisodes airing each day Monday to Friday at 4 PM eastern.

The series will follow the lives of four female college grads living in Los Angeles and utilize a real-time "polling tool" through which viewer opinions on the characters and plot will influence the show's direction. Characters will have web profiles on which viewers can comment and a chat tool will be available where fans can chat with each other. By the way, the fact that this is an original series means it is scripted. Thank goodness, not another reality TV show!

Via Reuters

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Fanfare Video Portal To Accompany Sansa TakeTV

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The TakeTV portion of the SanDisk Sansa TakeTV will debut sometime today as SanDisk will be unveiling the TakeTV video portal, Fanfare, to accompany the USB flash drive. The portal works by allowing users to download television shows and full-length feature films onto their computers (from such partners as Sony, Paramount and CBS), move them to the flash drive which is then plugged into the TV...and there you have it!

Via Business Wire

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

October 21, 2007

Television Isn't Dead...It Just Sucks!

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Wired mag's Compiler blog did a nice little round-up of "The Future of Video on the Web" presentation at the Web 2.0 Summit is San Francisco Friday. The presentation panel featured Current CEO Joel Hyatt, Joost CEO Mike Volpi and moderator Om Malik of GigaOm. The pressing question: Is television dead?

Absolutely not was the consensus among the pair of CEO's. Hyatt made a good point when he said the only problem with television today is that "most television sucks" and that if TV was dead "people wouldn't spend 4 hours a day watching it, "we wouldn't be spending billions of dollars to bring it to the internet". Good point Joel.

Joost's Volpi stated that the major networks still haven't grasped the fact that "the internet is the best place to put cutting edge and fresh content". Perhaps the most interesting info to come out of the panel was the fact that Joost is apparently working on a browser-based experience rather than just relying on the stand-alone platform they currently use. We should see it sometime "not too far in the distant future".

Via Compiler

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

October 20, 2007

Web Video 2 TV: Sansa TakeTVTM Video Player

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Buy.com has leaked some info about the Sansa TakeTVTM video player. While not available yet, and no word on pricing either, we're sure it'll be out soon. It makes watching web video on your TV a piece of cake, requiring no burning, encoding, or Wi-fi setups. All you have to do is plug it into your USB port, transport the video files to the TakeTV player, connect it to any standard TV Supported AV Output on your TV, and voila! All you have to do now is sit down and press play on the included remote.

The player works with Windows Vista and XP, supports DivX, xVid, MPEG-4 video formats and supplies a resolution of up to 720x576 (D1) at a bitrate of up to 7Mbps. Very cool!

Via Buy.com

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

October 17, 2007

Dailymotion Signs Deal With Major Broadcasters

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Video-sharing network Dailymotion has signed licensing deals with Turner Broadcasting Europe, Next New Networks, Si TV, and Comedy Time that will see programming air over the company's video platform. The deal includes original content from the networks and ad-revenue sharing. These networks are in addition to the deal Dailymotion already has with Warner Music in which the two companies share ad revenue from Warner's music videos featured on the platform.

Dailymotion will be airing featured content from CNN, Adult Swim and Nut for its American and European users. CNN will be updated hourly. Si TV is a Latino network based in the US and will air exclusive uploads of Flow and Tell.

Dailymotion launched back in 2005 and is available in 17 countries.

Via Mashable

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

October 16, 2007

NPD Group: 20% Of Consumers Interested in a PC-TV Device

A new report from the NPD Group says the home theater is fast evolving from a closed system utilizing traditional broadcasting signals and store-bought discs to one that uses broadband access to move digital entertainment content from the web to the TV screen.

According to Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis for The NPD Group, “faster Internet access, new content sources, and the evolution of the PC as a multimedia repository promise to change the features and functionality of devices in the home entertainment center. This in turn will lead to new opportunities and challenges for manufacturers, as well as more choices, and possibly greater confusion, for consumers.”

The report found the 24% of consumers with home networks and 19% overall would be interested in a device that relayed internet entertainment content to a television. When looking for such devices, 44% of consumers look to the manufacturers and 32% look toward PC companies.

The report was based on a survey sample of 15000 US adults.

By the way, does anyone else think this report states the obvious?

Via Business Wire

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

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