Important news and views in web video, TV, convergence and digital culture during the last week (6/20-6/25)! Double bullets (••) indicate a must-read!:
Web Video Market:
•• Hulu Up For Sale: Lots of writing on this. Basically the consensus seems to be that it makes sense for Hulu’s parents (Comcast/NBC, News Corp., Disney primarily) to unload it. The ownership structure has caused “a number of headaches for the company, including spats between Hulu management and the owners, whose interests have sometimes diverged,” says the Wall Street Journal, who broke the story. Moreover, numerous observers have noted, selling Hulu would essentially create another independent buyer for licensing premium TV content, and Hulu is owned by companies with big TV stakes! By selling, the companies get the cash and another Netflix to give them even more cash. Says AllThingsD: “…the list of potential customers for that stuff keeps getting bigger: Netflix, Apple, Amazon, the Dish Network, Yahoo, etc. Why lock all of them out?” Good deal! What’s the problem? Everyone knows Hulu is a tough sell: it doesn’t really own anything, even with renewed deals with Fox and Disney, and no one knows if it will be able to retain its content. Says Tubefilter: “If Hulu is sold, there’s no inherent incentive for its owners to continue with favorable distribution terms.” Which is why there are rumors the sale is just intended to jack up Hulu’s price; though the company has retained banks and put itself up. So who would by it? The Los Angeles Times says Yahoo. VideoNuze sees Google, Netflix or Apple. NewTeeVee has handicapped all the potential buyers. It seems probably a tech company would buy it, which is what the studios probably want: tech is doing pretty well and they’ll pay up for content. Google, Netflix or Apple deals would basically create the first premium video monopoly, if the company could secure Hulu’s licensing agreements, which all three, cash-rich, could do. If anything, then, Yahoo would want it more and might pull it out.
• Viacom Goes After Cablevision After Cooling It With Time Warner in iPad Wars (Los Angeles Times; NewTeeVee): Why? Time Warner Cable played nice, while Cablevision kept streaming Viacom content in its app. Seems like Viacom is trying to force negotiations out of court, by first going to court. I don’t have an iPad so I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. (Kidding: I do and I’m jealous).
• Google, Seeking to Bolster Google TV, Buys SageTV (ReelSEO)
• New York TV Festival Adds Big Media Partners (Multichannel News)
• Syfy Releasing Second Web Series, Mercury Men (Broadcasting & Cable): Ten episodes over two weeks.
• Is Revision3’s Epic Meal Time The Fastest YouTube Channel to 1 Million Subs? (Tubefilter)
Research and Policy:
• Mobile Video Ad Market Bigger Than Analysts Think? (Mediapost)
• The Dutch Have Net Neutrality (New York Times): With fines!
Hollywood and Tech:
• Byron Allen Launching Network for Black History (Shadow and Act): Looking to monetize TV’s long tail.