Monday, October 29, 2007

A Cuckoo Time to Release Hulu

The News Corp. - NBC site has launched in public beta, reports Variety. It's an ad-supported web site for viewing TV shows and movies, with non-skipable commercials included in the video stream.

The timing's not great though: the studios and networks are busy trying to persuade the Writers Guild that new media is irrelevant as source of income. A new and exciting Internet platform is scarcely persuasive.


  1. Jonathan,

    I agree that the timing could be better but I still doubt that Hulu in it of itself will have much of an impact on Guild negotiations. The studios and networks have been investing in this space for years. The big question mark has always been the revenue model. Without that, it will be difficult to measure much less pay residuals to Guild members.

    NBC/Fox's decision to create hulu as the only "destination" for their content (with unskippable ads) is a very bad idea and shows they don't really understand where things are headed.

    In my opinion, the future will require ubiquity of content from many net sites through aggregation rather than a single destination to attract eyeballs. A revenue model based on such an approach could be worth tens of billions.

    Good luck with your blog. I really enjoy the read.


    Peter Kaufman

  2. Thanks Peter. I think Hulu is just another pebble in the shoe - an irritant that won't make or break the negotiations, but doesn't help the studios' attempts to minimize the importance of new media. And I agree that syndication (i.e., multiple destinations), not walled gardens, is the only sensible way to go.

    I don't agree, though, that uncertainty of business models presents an insurmountable challenge to paying residuals. The WGA wants a percentage of what the studio receives from the reuse of content. If the studio makes a lot, the residuals are larger; if not, they're smaller.