This week at Digital Hollywood executives were still buzzing about the news and impact that Disney has struck a deal to put its content on the online video site Hulu leaving CBS alone among the four major networks not providing programming.
Hulu, which racking up 380 million video views in March alone, according to ComScore, has vaulted past Yahoo to become the third-most-watched video site in the United States. Some are wondering if a dominate advertising driven content portal (gee sound like TV) on the internet might damage Apple’s pay iTunes model. Will ultimately ad supported long form content be a more viable business model and iTunes video content will be relegated to a long tail play.
Some pondered, as Hulu finds more success, who really owns the viewers loyalty and are you putting your viewer at risk by exposing them to a portal where you exist side by side with other content providers (again Hulu at some level sounds like a TV just with out a remote control separating one channel from the next). I however doubt that anyone owns a viewer these days and that it is the content and the content creators who capture and keep the viewer and not the channel, network or distribution platform.
Do we need to look farther then Lifetime and Bravo’s dispute over Project Runway last year to validate that content is king? After all if it was all about owning the eye-balls, so to speak, then why worry over a single piece of content moving from outlet A to outlet B?
One must wonder though that over a billion applications have been sold by Apple (through the iTune Store) and well more then a billion songs have been sold however no one is crowing about the number of videos/tv programs sold via iTunes. In point of fact, unless I am mistaken, while one can make an application/sell it on iTunes and like wise monetize their audio products as well there is not a venue for selling user generated video via the iTunes Store.
Could it be that since video is one of the best and most effective platforms for advertising that all the players have a vested interest in seeing premium content supported by a strong ad driven distribution channel.
While it may seem that Hulu as a internet content portal for long form episodic television and feature film is clearly rooted in new media its recent efforts to close off international viewers , reminds us that there is little new about this traditional media owned service other then the technology driving it.
What place will Hulu take in world of content monetizaton and distribution? Will CBS buckle to the pressure and join the others networks?