Monday, May 11, 2009

"If you give away your premium content for free, you are basically...signing your own death warrant"

Hulu is kicking American Idol's ass, and honestly I couldn't be happier. This article explains why some TV execs are now afraid of Hulu. One quote in particular struck me:

"If you give away your premium content for free, you are basically hastening your own demise, signing your own death warrant," said Laura Martin, a media analyst with Soleil-Media Metrics.

I've heard other people say otherwise. But only one side can really be right -- so which one is it?

As an aside, I recently tried to watch on Hulu the classic 1978 film "Moment by Moment," featuring Lily Tomlin and a young John Travolta in a May/December romance. The movie had the standard Hulu commercial interruptions -- in this case, the same anti-smoking PSA featuring close-up pics of flesh horribly eaten away by cancer. These periodic commericials made it hard to get into all the pre-Lifetime romantic cheese the film had to offer me, and eventually I had shut it off. Then I watched American Idol.


  1. I have a friend who works at Discovery Channel. They don't put any of their full shows online. Apparently, the new pres at Discovery used to work for NBC and said that everyone loves the free premium content but no one is making any money off of it. So Discovery doesn't.

    I mean, I've certainly watched more stuff on Hulu than I normally would have. Currently going through season 3 of Heroes. But I wonder, how are they making money. I guess the ad revenue pays for something, but is it enough to offset costs? I'd like to see the numbers someday.

  2. Don't forget the rest of us around the world who can only watch Hulu with an anonymiser and everything else on downloads. I would be happy to pay to watch premium content at the same time as the US - but we don't have the option, so we watch for free.

  3. I still don't get why Hulu is different from any other media outlet. The only difference I used to see was that the ad buys were obviously smaller. In the past, it seemed like it was all PSAs, but I'm starting to see more big-name advertisers.

    I don't see why it can't be the same thing as any syndication model. NBC and Fox (who own Hulu) are getting ad dollars for the commercials they're inserting into the video stream.

    Now that I'm watching Hulu on my TV, I'm less and less how it's different from any network, and I want to see more and more stuff get uploaded to it.

    I'm now watching Daily Show, Colbert Report, Life, Heroes, and Family Guy exclusively through Hulu. And if more creators take the Joss Whedon route to generate original Hulu content, it'll be an even bigger draw.