Hulu is has no respect for the viewer. It’s NBC’s last-ditch effort to hold on to their old business model. It is a big, “old media” idea stuck in a digital world. It’s not a RICH concept and ultimately, it will fail. I can hear the manical boardroom laughter now: “Give away the content for free (just like your boob-tube); force viewers to watch commercials; maintain our existing advertising revenue channels; keep paying our jack ass old timer VP’s salaries; screw Apple and retain control.”
So NBC told Apple to f- off. Fair enough. Where were they when the last round of over-priced, content controlled BS burnt up entering the atmosphere? If I remember correctly even Sony had a plan were you were basically “renting” the download for $3.50. At a certain point the audio stopped working unless you paid more. Yeesh. Hulu doesn’t feel much better. NOTHING is distributable. It’s a flash movie with no embed tags and no real sharing mechanism. Remember the DRM issues of music/video past? This feels like the same mistake all over again! Why, why, why?!
This all probably sounded super duper while everyone pontificated safely from NBC’s leather couches (I’ve seen em, they’re nice!) when they sat around and plotted the sans-Apple way forward. But you know what? It won’t work. There’s no room for a rogue game in town. We’ve got shit to watch - and no time to worry about where we now can or can’t watch it. Is NBC going to come out with their own hand held video player too!? Hey, perhaps they can get into telephony! Yay! Ok, I’ll stop. But you get my point.
Haven’t we learned anything? Just like the iTunes Store, the only way online video distribution is going to succeed is if you can get every TV show / Movie from one source, that has no DRM platform (or at least a common one) and not have to worry if it’ll play on your computer, ipod, tv, whateverthefuck. People want to watch their media on the device they choose and aren’t going to be “beholden” to one network just for a certain kind of content. They’re not going to pay for the same content multiple times to have the ability to use it in multiple devices. They’re just not. They’ve been teased by the spoils of iTunes, limewire, the WEB in general and they’re not turning back just because NBC says so. Fuck, haven’t they heard of Bit Torrent?
The best part, gang? Their tagline. “Watch your favorites. Anytime. Anywhere.” Seriously? Do they even know what that means? Jaysus, my Panasonic DVD player works better on my commute than Hulu. Sigh.
Fakesteve takes this one home for me:
So, fair enough. Bring on the big media cluster fuck. Roll out all the different systems that don’t work together. Bring on all the different kinds of software, none of which will work as well as iTunes. Bring on a zillion different user interfaces, a zillion accounts you need to set up, a zillion new usernames and passwords and a list of which services can work on which devices in which format. Right. When you’re good and tired of that, we’ll be here waiting for you.
Verdict on Hulu: I give it 6 months before they realize no one is coming back for repeat visits and 12 months before they announce it as a failed experiment. Will Apple take ‘em back? I wouldn’t. But then again, I’m a just terrible person. :)