Following are 4 news items worth noting from the week of Sept. 7th:
1. Hulu's boss says it needs to charge for content - Bloomberg ran a story this week quoting Chase Carey, deputy chairman of News Corp (Fox's owner, and therefore a part-owner of Hulu) as saying at a BofA investor conference, "Ad-supported only is going to be a tough place in a fractured world....You want a mix of pay and free."
VideoNuze readers know that while I've admired Hulu's user experience from the start, I've long been critical of its thin ad model, which falls well short of generating revenue/program/viewer parity with traditional on-air program delivery. That lack of parity has caused Hulu's owners to cordon off access to Hulu on TVs for most viewers. But the networks' fear of cannibalizing their own P&Ls only frustrates loyal Hulu users, who neither understand nor care about such legacy concerns. All of this and more led me months ago to conclude a subscription offering is inevitable from Hulu. The impending TV Everywhere launches, which further marginalize ad-only business models, and now Carey's public remarks, solidify my thinking. We'll soon see some type of Hulu subscription tier.
2. Move Networks notches a win with Cable and Wireless deal - Score one for Move Networks, which this week announced Cable and its first tier 1 telco customer. Move enables C&W to deliver an HD, linear multichannel video service, plus on-demand and broadband content to its broadband customers, all through existing DSL connections. Move's repositioning, which I wrote about recently, obviates telcos' need to invest billions in upgrading their networks to get into the IPTV business. Indeed, Roxanne Austin, Move's CEO told me yesterday that C&W has for years considered all the various options for getting into video, but has never pulled the trigger until now. The deal covers up to 7 million homes and interestingly, rather than getting a license fee, Move will be paid a share of subscriber revenue. Roxanne says another big deal will be announced shortly.
3. iPod Nano gets video, battle with Cisco's Flip escalates - As you likely know, Steve Jobs unveiled the new iPod Nano this week, which incorporates an SD video camera. Following the iPhone 3GS adding video recording capability, I think it's pretty clear that Apple has decided video is the next big thing for its devices. As I suggested recently, Apple's embrace is going to drive user-generated video - and YouTube, as the undisputed home for it - to a whole new level.
But one wonders what this all means for Cisco's recently-acquired Flip video camera, and others from Creative, Sony, Kodak, etc? Cisco in particular has a lot on the line since it just shelled out almost $600M for Flip's parent Pure Digital. Granted Apple's devices are still SD, while Flip now emphasizes HD, but still, getting video recording "for free" as Jobs put it at the launch is pretty compelling for consumers. Even if the Flip deal doesn't work out as planned, Cisco will still be selling a whole lot more routers to handle all of this newly-generated broadband video, so it's a winner either way.
4. AT&T Wireless adding 3G capacity - In last Friday's "4 Items" post, I noted a great story the NY Times ran showcasing the frustrations that AT&T Wireless customers are experiencing due to the millions of data-intensive iPhones clogging up the network. AT&T has been hearing complaints from all sides, and this week announced 3G network upgrades in 6 cities this year, with plans to cover 25 of the top 30 U.S. cities by the end of next year, and 90% of its current 3G footprint by the end of 2011. These upgrades can't come soon enough for iPhone users. Meanwhile the company's YouTube video, featuring "Seth the blogger guy" explaining how AT&T is addressing network issues itself came under attack, as AdAge reported. There's no pleasing everyone.
Enjoy the weekend!