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Oooo..when you think of something before the smart people type it up....thoughts on hulu...

I thought this was kinda cool...not Hulu, though they're not bad either. Last weekend, someone asked me how I thought Hulu would affect YouTube. I thought about it for about 1 second and out popped "I don't think they're competing." I was asked the same question at work on Monday. I thought about it a little longer (3 seconds?) and out popped the same thing.

Guess what GigaOm had to say about it?

"Hulu doesn’t seem like a YouTube (GOOG) competitor. (This is yet another thing I was wrong about.) What it really is trying to do is time shift — and place shift — television on a massive scale. It’s basically an attempt to counterbalance the tight control that cable and satellite networks have over distribution."

I think the service is fascinating, has a decent product/business model (I'm not annoyed by inserted ads), pretty compelling content (if you're a TV junkie like me) and quite was about time something like this came around. Om thinks services like Joost should be worried. Hell, yeah! Joost's messaging has been repeatedly said their competitive advantage was the quality of content available; well they just lost that.

The market for web syndication of TV shows is limited though. Anyone with access to a search engine, a bittorrent client and a broadband connection has had access to this content but the ease of use (and legality) of Hulu will expand the market a little because now there are more distribution points which will encourage more people to "consume" their TV shows online. However, a theme I've often heard is that this kind of service is eventually meant to play on TV (Joost has pretty much stated it.) Guess what? At that point it looks suspiciously like VoD, with ad opportunities for someone else. What if Hulu content at somepoint becomes more compelling (thinking long-tail stuff availability here) at a cheaper price ( For someone like me, I could basically unsubscribe from the TV part of my comcast service at that point. How will the cable companies feel about this? More interestingly, how will they react?

Ooo...we live in such interesting times.:)


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