I cut the cord around 2004 when I moved from LA to SF – we had lived in apartment complexes where the cable was heavily subsidized and was really the only option. We elected to use Netflix to catch up on a lot of movie’s we’d missed, watch TV shows from start to end, etc. There are a few reasons I really wish I had cable, notably: Food TV, the Tour de France, and watching more MLB (luckily, the post-season is on Fox. Go Giant’s!) I’ve recently started to use Hulu to watch a few shows and be a little more current than Netflix allows – mostly shows I wouldn’t admit I watch (OK, I had a crush on Ali – the Bachelorette). I’m eager for the release of Hulu Plus on my Sony Blu-ray player (coming this fall), so that I can fork over $10 per month to watch Hulu content in my Living Room instead of my study (OK – I can do it with a laptop now).
I absolutely understand that the networks – who own the content – want Hulu revenue to supplement (or replace in full measure) their broadcast revenue. While we watch less ads on Hulu than broadcast TV (in minutes) those ads are much more targeted – they are delivered based on what Hulu (and any search partners) know about us. They should ultimately be able to achieve higher bids per impression, and similar revenue per airing. Hulu also has interactive ads that connect you to more information about product and services, merging impression ads with click-through ads.
Hulu is the networks’ extension onto the internet, and is often forced to push their defensive tactics to the customers. They recently did so by enforcing a black-out of Fox content to Cablevision customers – extending the cable carriage dispute onto the internet. I’m glad they acknowledged their distaste for the matter: “Unfortunately, we were put in a position of needing to block Fox content on Hulu in order to remain neutral during contract negotiations between Fox and Cablevision.” Also – it appears to have been a short-lived action, given the inability of Hulu (Fox) to distinguish between Cablevision Cable customers and Cablevision Internet customers.
The News Corp (Fox) action was anti-competitive. These customers can watch the signals over the air with an HD antenna – why should the internet be different? More avenues of content means more competition – which is better for consumers. Period. Hulu, from now on, please stand up for your customers a little more against your big daddy (News Corp / Fox).