In full disclosure, I am a total Boxee fanboy, which for anybody who hasn’t heard the buzz, is a slick, open source media center application that lets you watch online video (Hulu, YouTube, Joost, Netflix, ABC.com, CNN, etc.) from one clean, seamless interface. You can also plug in RSS feeds for just about any video site you can find an RSS feed for.
Boxee is TV without the cable bill, with a way more diverse selection of content.
A few weeks back, Hulu reluctantly announced on its blog that its being forced to pull its player from the Boxee application, due to complaints from the content providers (meaning the networks).
The move, quite expectedly, sent Boxee users – and many Hulu users – into a furor over what appeared to be another attempt by “old media” to forestall the Internet’s inevitable destruction of its business model.
Boxee and Hulu have been going back and forth ever since, while resourceful users have begun figuring out hacks to restore Hulu’s content to Boxee.
And that is just one reason out of many that this move is going to prove to be a huge mistake for the content providers:
1) Technology first adopters and Web geeks are resourceful. If they want your content, they’re going to get your content. The fact that you think you can stop them proves that you haven’t accepted the reality of the Internet and what it means for the future of your business.
2) Even if you succeed in building an impenetrable wall around your garden of content, guess what: Your competition is not. So, while the NBC and Fox shows are not available on Boxee, content from ABC, CBS, CNN, Comedy Central, BBC, MTV, Netflix, Revision3, YouTube, and literally any RSS-based video feed on the entire Internet are.
3) The advertisements on Hulu videos still play when the videos are consumed through Boxee. So in addition to agitating users and looking stodgy, the content providers are actually denying ad impressions and click-throughs, and, in the process, revenue.