Wednesday, February 18, 2009

IPTV - its our future, it's here today so why kill it???

Eugen sent this shocking announcement to me

Doing hard things
February 18th, 2009
"I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter." — Walt Disney
Later this week, Hulu's content will no longer be available through Boxee. While we never had a formal relationship with Boxee, we are under no illusions about the likely Boxee user response from this move. This has weighed heavily on the Hulu team, and we know it will weigh even more so on Boxee users.
Our content providers requested that we turn off access to our content via the Boxee product, and we are respecting their wishes. While we stubbornly believe in this brave new world of media convergence — bumps and all — we are also steadfast in our belief that the best way to achieve our ambitious, never-ending mission of making media easier for users is to work hand in hand with content owners. Without their content, none of what Hulu does would be possible, including providing you content via and our many distribution partner websites.
Our mission to make media dramatically easier and more user-focused has not changed and will not change. We will not stop until we achieve it and we are sober in our assessment that we have such a long way to go.
The maddening part of writing this blog entry is that we realize that there is no immediate win here for users. Please know that we take very seriously our role of representing users such that we are able to provide more and more content in more and more ways over time. We embrace this activity in ways that respect content owners' — and even the entire industry's — challenges to create great content that users love. Yes, it's a complex matter. A tough mission, and a never-ending one, but one we are passionately committed to.
For those Boxee users reading this post, we understand and appreciate that you're likely to tell us that we're nuts. Please know that we do share the same interests and won't stop innovating in support of the bigger mission.
Jason Kilarjason@hulu.comCEO, Hulu

He then followed it up with this Article

Is Hulu's Heave-Ho First Salvo in Digital Content War?

By Renay San Miguel
02/20/09 11:59 AM PT

In addition to Boxee, Hulu also has pulled its content from the CBS-owned, sparking a push-back from, which doesn't want to say good-bye so quickly. Could the moves by Fox and NBC-owned Hulu be the first in a war over digital distribution of television content?

What Hulu giveth, Hulu taketh away. At first applauded for its openness in providing its content to other distributors, the online streaming video company -- a joint venture of NBC Universal and News Corp. -- this week pulled back that content from Web-to-TV software provider Boxee and, CBS's digital video service. However, CBS is now pushing back at Hulu, and those rumblings you hear on the digital horizon may be the first shots fired in a new round of major media company battles over the right to watch TV shows on your computer.

CBS interactive spokesperson Sarah Cain gave a statement that is short on words but speaks volumes regarding the potential for a fight: "CBS Interactive is well within its rights to stream Hulu video content on under its agreement with Hulu. We are evaluating our next steps at this time," Cain said.

Earlier this week Hulu sent this statement to other media organizations: "Hulu has contractual rights with regards to our relationship with and we are exercising those rights. Out of respect for their confidentiality, we will not disclose our discussions."

TechNewsWorld has sent an email request for reaction to Hulu CEO Jason Kilar; it had not received a response by press time.

Jockeying for Position

Both CBS and Hulu drew kudos last year for making digital deals with "frenemies," including the likes of online brand heavyweights AOL, MSN , Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) and, of course, each other, said Forrester Research senior analyst Bobby Tulsiani. However, its own success, couple with the economy's failure, may be forcing Hulu to revalue its content and consider new business models.

"Hulu has some of the most valuable content out there," Tulsiani told TechNewsWorld. "CBS has higher network ratings than Fox or NBC, but for the Web, Hulu's content is about as good as you can get -- "Saturday Night Live," "Family Guy," "Simpsons," that library is perfect for the Web. It targets young people, it's clips, it's viral and episodic.

"In terms of being critical to business, you can absolutely understand why library size could become important. It's really valuable. Would you just give it away to your competitors? I can understand Hulu's position." may be been singled out by Hulu because of CBS's desire to pump up its offerings on the site, Tulsiani says. "It could be jockeying for position. CBS is putting their full muscle behind it, more so than Yahoo or AOL or MSN, their other partners who have email, business and celebrity news and other categories."

Cable Entering the (PC Screen) Picture?

A report in The Wall Street Journal that cable companies may be trying to build out their own streaming video offerings for computers could also figure into the competitive mix, Tulsiani said, and may be sparking Hulu's actions this week. Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSK) and Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) are poised, well capitalized and already pay fees to bring TV programming into your living room; adding another portal via your computer could be a logical next step. Hulu has partnerships with Comcast-owned networks including E! Entertainment, G4 and the Golf Channel.

Cable's entry into streaming PC video may force Hulu to start charging for some content. Right now Hulu is free, ad-supported TV on your PC, and the question of paid services is addressed on the "Media FAQ" page of its Web site:

Will Hulu always be ad-supported or are there any plans to charge for additional services?
Hulu's goal is to help people find and enjoy the world's premium content when, where and how they want it. We believe that offering free, ad-supported content is a good first step toward achieving that goal and that it is the model that will resonate with largest group of users today. That said, we also believe in listening closely to user feedback to help guide our future plans.

"Free resonates with consumers, but doesn't resonate as well with businesses," Tulsiani said. "We will start seeing more experimentation with paid models. Hulu's smart not to rule that out, although they do emphasize free because they know brand equity behind free is very powerful, especially at this time. But the cable guys are obviously already getting your (US)$40 a month. If they roll out a Web portal, can they charge $41? For Hulu to go from free to pay may be a tougher transition than cable going from pay to a little more pay."

Hulu started right, they got the licenses and are ad driven, broadcasting IPTV over the net, then came enablers like Boxee bring IPTV back from the net into the TV and thus extending the viewer community exponentially.

Why would Hulu now pull the plug??? Are they missing the forest for the trees? Are they seeing how great their offering is when it is viewed on a TV and working back with the TV guys to stream exclusively through a cable box???? This would be terrible and once again close the distribution.

Hulu don't do this!!! Quite that contrary, Hulu should be partnering with many other enablers like Boxee's, and maybe even PVR manufacturer like TVIX, the more the better for everyone the viewer and Hulu's advertisers!!! And lets not forget the obvious next step.... The rest of the world!!! Once you're IP the only distribution limitation is your distribution agreement with your content provider, the technology and the pipes are already there.

What do you think??? Do you understand why Hulu is cutting off their own Oxygen.....