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Hulu, TV Networks To Change Model Of Free Streaming

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussion' started by CatfishRivers, May 3, 2012.

  1. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    Hulu, TV Networks to Change Model of Free Streaming | Fox Business (click for full article)

    "Viewers who stream network TV shows may soon discover the free ride is not so free.


    Hulu, which attracted 31 million unique users in March under a free-for-all model, is taking its first steps to change to a model where viewers will have to prove they are a pay-TV customer to watch their favorite shows, according to sources.


    In fact, the move by Hulu toward the new model -- called authentication because viewers would have to log in with their cable or satellite TV account number -- was behind the move last week by Providence Equity Partners to cash out of Hulu after five years, these sources said.


    And it's not just Hulu making it tougher for cable-cutters to stream shows and other content.


    Fox, owned by News Corp., which also owns the New York Post, the FOX Business Network, and NewsCore, is expected to begin talks soon with Comcast on a TV Everywhere deal that will require authentication. Plus, Philadelphia-based Comcast is expected to switch to an authentication model for this summer's Olympic Games.


    The move toward authentication is fueled by cable companies and networks looking to protect and profit from their content.


    The effort comes as entertainment companies continue to face drastic shifts in home viewing habits. Overall spending on home entertainment edged up 2.5 percent to $4.45 billion in the first quarter as a surge in digital streaming, which rose more than fivefold to $549 million, offset a continuing collapse in video rentals, according to Digital Entertainment Group.


    Hulu, owned by News Corp., Disney, Comcast and Providence, could see its March audience, as measured by ComScore, shrink after authentication. Hulu racked up some $420 million in ad revenue last year and is expected to do well in this year's ad negotiations.
    But the move toward authentication, which could take years to complete, will make cable companies happy because it could slow cord-cutting by making cable subscribing more attractive. "
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2012
  2. ChrisG8

    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    Now that is really bad news, hope this doesn't happen. I better use PlayLater to record as much as I can before it happens.
     
  3. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    Well IMO ultimately this could help the GTV platform. Because Google does not consider GTV to be a cord cutting device - but rather an adjunct to cable/satellite TV. If the move towards authentication will mean more cable subscribers then GTV could benefit. Currently the competition such as Roku, Boxee etc tend to be viewed as cord-cutting alternatives - so this move towards authentication could level the playing field a bit.


    However for this trend towards authentication to benefit GTV - the authenticated networks will have to do a better job of supporting GTV than say HBO Go. I read here that for the most part - even with a cable subscription HBO Go is very spotty on GTV. Actually the same can be said (to a degree) for ESPN3. Even though that doesn't require a cable subscription.


    With authentication I would see no reasoning for the networks/Hulu to block GTV anymore. However, technically speaking a lot of web sites and apps just don't work that great with GTV. Even Netflix has issues with GTV. So hopefully that will improve in the future. I would thank that ultimately the number of GTV users will impact how well GTV does or doesn't work with the big sites requiring authentication.


    If the GTV user base is small - a lot of web sites won't spend the resources to make their web sites GTV friendly - or in designing an app for GTV. So strength is in numbers.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2012
  4. ChrisG8

    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    If you have a pay TV service and Google TV, this might be a good thing but I think a bigger percentage of Google TV users than you might think are in fact cord cutters and Google TV is the best of the streaming players for that group. Google TV already doesn't work for those sites for the most part so that isn't a big deal as far as how I use Google TV but I decided to use several different boxes, including a PC, as my cord cutting solution and that move could render my PC with PlayOn/PlayLater practically worthless for my needs.
     
  5. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    ChrisG8 wrote: " but I decided to use several different boxes, including a PC, as my cord cutting solution and that move could render my PC with PlayOn/PlayLater practically worthless for my needs."

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Well that was part of the point that I was trying to make. Currently a netbook could be purchased for approx. $250 and then hooked up to the TV and access Hulu and all the networks. So if that functionality for low end laptops/computers becomes non-existent (without a cable subscription) - then competitively I see that as a positive for GTV. I'm pretty sure that authenticated sites will not block GTV - but in my mind the question is how well will the sites work with GTV. For instance HBO Go doesn't "block" GTV - however it doesn't work very well with GTV either.


    I understand that authentication is not a good thing for cord-cutters. I'm not a big fan of high cable bills either. I was just giving my perspective on how it would ultimately impact the GTV platform. Anyway I believe the article said it could take "years" for Hulu to fully implement authentication.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  6. ColmARocK

    ColmARocK New Member

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    This is not good news for people outside the US. I'm unsing a VPN to access Hulu.com and it works because its free, but now their is no way I can provide a valide cable account.
     
  7. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    What's HBO Go's Problem? - Business - The Atlantic (click for full article)

    "A famous Oatmeal cartoon showed the cartoonist making a good faith effort to buy Game of Thrones. He finds that the show is not available on iTunes, Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu. He tries to buy HBO Go, but it's only available as an add-on to a cable package. Finally, the cartoonist gives up trying to pay for the show and pirates it through Bit Torrent. This cartoon is probably the best ever expression of the "piracy is a customer service issue" thesis.


    In a way, this doesn't make any sense for HBO, which makes its money off subscriptions and would ostensibly welcome an opportunity to sell subscriptions to another market segment. HBO claims that (a) people aren't interested in a la carte HBO Go and (b) the transaction costs are too high to do their own billing, etc. The technical term for these explanations is "bullshit."


    Cord cutters are a relatively small market segment but a fast growing one and I think it unlikely that cable subscriptions will fully rebound when the recession ends since the issue isn't just price but convenience. Moreover, I see no reason why HBO can't handle billing and other logistical issues when the Metropolitan Opera and the NFL, not to mention Netflix, don't seem to have any trouble running their own separately billed streaming video services. Of course there are transaction costs associated with billing, but it can't possibly be anywhere close to the cost of a basic cable package.



    And here we get to the real issue. It's not that HBO would like to cut out the middleman and sell to us directly, rather requiring you to buy basic cable is the whole point. Cable is a total cash cow and a more flexible business model means lower revenues. The reason is that the incumbent business model of cable combines the features of bundling (basic cable) and a two-part tariff (premium cable channels) for a perfect storm of price discrimination.


    For much the same reason as Disneyland could only lose money if it sold a la carte tickets to Splash Mountain for $20 without requiring $80 park admission (which includes access to Main Street, Jungle Cruise, etc), cable companies would lose money if you could buy HBO Go for $20 without first buying basic cable (which includes access to ESPN, Mtv, etc). Basically, economic theory (and some reasonable assumptions about the structure of demand) suggests that an a la carte video market could not make as much money as a bundled video market. "
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2012
  8. dtaylor

    dtaylor Member

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    Time Warner Cable already has this authentication model in place with ESPN 3. I can't watch espn 3 content due to the fact I only subscribe to internet service from twc and I'm not a video service subscriber. :(

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
     
  9. ChrisG8

    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    ESPN3 does have an authentication process but it doesn't require a cable subscription. I don't have cable and could access ESPN3 with Comcast Xfinity internet service, I dropped that and can now access it using AT&T U-verse internet service. There are other ESPN internet streaming options which do require a pay TV service. I am not sure some internet service providers offer ESPN3 and others don't but the list that do isn't long right now so I will assume TWC does not pay the necessary fee to ESPN to allow access for internet only users. This Wikipedia article describes the situation.

    ESPN3 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  10. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    I noticed that FOX has gone to an authenticated model to stream recent full episodes. However without authentication FOX will still make full episodes available 8 days after air date. The problem with all of this is that FOX is now requiring Flash 11 - so currently it doesn't work with GTV. From the FOX web site:

    "If you have an account with a participating TV provider you can be among the first to watch the most recently aired episodes on FOX.com. Otherwise, full episodes are available for viewing 8 days after the airdate. This is true wherever full episodes of FOX shows appear online. More TV providers are coming soon."

    I also noticed that TNT and TBS have gone to authenticated streaming on their web sites (for full episodes). I haven't tried that - however their short clips work with GTV (Flash 10.2) - so my hunch is that their authenticated full episodes probably work with GTV.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2012
  11. dtaylor

    dtaylor Member

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    Time Warner cable does provide access to espn 3, but ONLY if you subscribe to their Cable TV AND Cable Internet services. I'm a twc customer who only subscribes to their internet service, thus I don't get access to espn 3 video. However my next door neighbor subscribes to both their internet and TV and he can watch whatever on espn 3. TWC's reasoning for this is that espn 3 is a "complement" to their cable video services.

    It sucks.


    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
     
  12. ChrisG8

    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    It is a business decision apparently and probably has to do with the fact Time Warner is required to pay ESPN to allow internet users to access ESPN3 and the other ESPNWatch streaming services. I am glad AT&T U-verse does pay the access fees as did Comcast Xfinity, the only internet options I have available here.
     
  13. markn

    markn New Member

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    Is anyone else's espn3 not working? I have a Comcast Xfinity account, and after I log in, and click the watch live link nothing happens. There used to be a pop up to watch the live stream, but now nothing happens.
     
  14. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    Hulu goes for original series to win adherents - FT.com (click for full article)


    "Hulu, the internet video operator owned by Walt Disney, News Corp and Comcast, is launching 10 original series aimed at younger viewers who are deserting television for online platforms.

    The company, which was set up five years ago as a counterweight to Google's YouTube, has built a subscriber base of about 2m with a library of programmes that have already aired on US television."
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2012
  15. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    What Hulu (click for full article)

    What Hulu's Original Programming Means for TV

    May 22, 2012 4:45 AM EDT

    There's a land grab on in Internet video. Hulu's 10 new series-plus original content from Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube-offer a hint of the future of TV, writes Nick Summers. Plus, read about Netflix's high-stakes gamble.

    Maybe the next original series Hulu creates should be a Western.


    This week, the streaming-video service announced a slate of 10 exclusive shows coming to its platform this summer-one of the most aggressive moves yet in a land grab that is taking place among the pioneers of Internet video. Netflix has now green-lighted five premium series, and earlier this month, Amazon unveiled Amazon Studios, its first foray into original video. At YouTube, Google is plowing $100 million into launching 100 channels, with the goal of creating more content than there are hours in the day to watch.


    In the hypercompetitive community of TV creation, where fortunes are made and programs are killed without mercy, online is where the action is. "The phrase that I keep hearing a lot is that it's the Wild West," says J.D. Walsh, the showrunner behind the original Hulu series, Battleground. "And I think that it is the Wild West. What that connotes to me is that nobody really knows what the rules are, what's going to be stable, or who is going to [emerge as] the leaders. But even within the Wild West, you did have some major cities-and that's what you're seeing with these platforms."


    Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube are all taking a unique approach to original programming on the Web. Their differing bets-on such questions as quantity, polish, advertising versus subscriptions, nudity, and more-provide a hint of what the future of "television" will resemble.


    Hulu, which is jointly owned by the legacy television networks, is coming to resemble a broad-interest network with catholic tastes. Of the 10 series announced this week, three are wholly original to Hulu, and they run the gamut: there's Spoilers, a kind of movie club hosted by Kevin Smith (Clerks); Up to Speed, a travelogue by Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused); and We Got Next, a "bro-mantic comedy" about a pickup basketball clique. The other seven titles, for which Hulu bought exclusive streaming rights, involve everything from teen pregnancy to the British clergy to a faux-gritty mockumentary set on an elementary-school playground.


    Andy Forssell, the executive in charge of content-and a $500 million annual budget-says he has no idea how many titles Hulu will come to produce in the coming years. "We're quality-gated," he said in a recent interview. "There's no quota that I want to go hit. We don't have a set number of hours to fill, like a lot of traditional networks do-that's actually an advantage I want to jealously guard."


    "A year ago, it was difficult to have people audition for our show because they just thought, 'Oh, it's just going to be on the Internet.' Now we don't have that problem anymore."
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2012

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