Why the Comcast-NBC merger is no reason to fear for Hulu’s future

December 10, 2009

Will Comcast take a bite out of Hulu?

Illustration by JPT

Ever since the rumors of Comcast’s now-impending acquisition of NBC-Universal began buzzing, so too have questions about whether the future of Hulu — the free video streaming site part-owned by NBC — is at stake.

After all, observers noted, much of the content made available for free on Hulu was previously only accessible via cable subscription, the necessity of which consumers have begun to question, thanks to the recession and the availability of free television content on the Internet. Will Comcast mess with Hulu?

I don’t think we should worry about losing Hulu as we know it anytime soon. Here’s why:

  1. Fancast. Comcast has already launched its own version of Hulu called Fancast. Same deal: Lots of TV shows and a smattering of movies. For free. Obviously, Comcast isn’t opposed to streaming TV content online for free. (To be fair, one counterargument could be: Exactly. Comcast may try to throttle Hulu’s success in favor of its own site. However… )
  2. If Comcast pulls NBC’s content out of Hulu, it will not only piss everybody off (okay, fine, you’re right, Comcast *is* used to doing that), but it will leave ABC and other content providers who will remain on Hulu– ie, Comcast’s new competitors — with an advantage.
  3. I don’t have cable. I watch all my TV shows online. But guess who I shell out $60 a month to for Internet access. That’s right: Comcast. Something tells me those bastards will find a way to leverage their ISP business to make up for lost cable subscribers and still end up being an obscenely profitable company.
  4. There’s still stuff you can only get (legally) from a cable subscription. While many – if not most – popular television shows are available to stream online for free, many are still only available via cable. Many sports broadcasts and new episodes of “premium” HBO shows can’t easily be found online to stream and thus, an incentive still exists for people to purchase a cable subscription. Besides…
  5. Most of the NBC-owned content currently on Hulu is network TV, and thus doesn’t require a cable subscription to view anyway. I can watch The Office and 30 Rock on TV without cable. Unless Comcast/NBC would pull these shows just to hurt Hulu’s traffic, I can’t see a compelling business reason for them to restrict access to them on Hulu.
  6. Of course, anything can happen. Many people just expect a negative outcome when Comcast is involved, which is not totally unjustified. Indeed, they may find a way to ruin or water-down Hulu. But there are plenty of good reasons for it not to.



    Related Posts: » How to save hundreds of dollars on cable; »Eliminating the cable bill, part deux: Boxee!

Tech Gift Guide: 5 (relatively) affordable ideas.

December 2, 2009

Pocket Retro Game EmulatorThe future is upon us. Before long, we’ll all be walking around with cybernetic body parts, computers will have emotions and the line between man and machine will be forever blurred, rendering human mortality a thing of the past. What better way to prepare your friends and family to participate in this evolutionary milestone than with totally bitchin’, high-tech gizmos?

»Read more at philadelphiaweekly.com.

And you thought your iPhone was neat.

March 15, 2009

From the MIT Media Lab, via TED, comes a look into the (near) future: Smart phones meet Microsoft Surface meets Mozilla’s Ubiquity. You’ll be able to media and information onto any surface and interact with it. Absolutely insane.

Are tweets news?

November 19, 2008

Editor and Publisher’s Steve Outing was kind enough to post on his blog some thoughts I e-mailed him a few weeks ago in response to one of his E&P columns.

The original column in Editor & Publisher discussed the need for news organization to revise their definition of news, which, Outing suggest, should include the status updates from one’s friends on sites like Twitter and Facebook.

As I read Outing’s column, I realized that I personally tap the “Twitteriffic” icon on my iPhone almost as much as I tap the “Google Reader” or “NPR” icon. Yes, the majority of ‘tweets’ that come across my screen consists of “news” about my friends’ daily lives, but isn’t it news nonetheless?

In addition to the fact that a handful of my friends happen to be journalists, I also follow a few local news organizations on Twitter, further solidifying the micro-blogging service as a source of “news” in the traditional sense.

Social media is not only one potential avenue for the future of content, but, according to Advertising Age, advertisers are looking in that direction as well.

Check out Steve Outing’s blog for more daily insight into the state of newspapers and journalism.

Okay, I’ll blog.

October 25, 2008

For a good two years now, it’s been on my ever-growing list to design a custom WordPress theme and relaunch my personal Website with it.   As it turns out, being a full-time Web content manager (for a newspaper company, no less) and a part-time journalism student isn’t exactly conducive to ample free time.   Then there’s the multitude of mini-projects on my plate any at given time.

strongICanHasBlogPosts?/strong  Who can say no to a dude with a kitten?

ICanHasBlogPosts: Who can say no to a dude with a kitten?

Admittedly, designing and relaunching my own Website isn’t quite an urgent matter.   I don’t need it to find a job or anything.   The one thing I’ve been itching to do is blog.   Seeing as how I’m in the middle of a major Web project at work (more details to come), half-way through a semester at Temple, and have promised my girlfriend to get her photography portfolio online by November, I might as well get a headstart on my blog here on WordPress.com, rather than the self-hosted version.

Leave it to WordPress to make it painlessly easy to migrate this blog to my own server once I’m ready.   So, no logistical worries there.   Thanks, WordPress.

Now, what is this blog going to be about?

Lest ADD get the best of me, I’ve decided to narrow it down to a few of my main interests: Web design/strategy, journalism, mass media and technology.   And, of course, all of their various intersections.   Other things you might catch me rambling about include politics, the Middle East, and music.

I figure the tech/media/Web angle is broad enough for me to write about regularly, but focused and inter-related enough to keep the attention of a few readers.   That is, after all, the whole point.

So, welcome.   Thanks for coming.  Feel free to leave a comment or two.    Keep an eye on this blog for a custom design and expanded, whiz-bang feature set… should I ever get around to it.